Schaafsma succeeds John Ratcliffe – who becomes deputy chairman – and will split his time between London and Australia.
Schaafsma told OLN he was beginning the search for a general manager to oversee the UK and Ireland as he steps up to the top job.
He said: “We will be looking both internally and externally and have a strong leadership team who will step up in the interim period.”
During Schaafsma’s leadership, Accolade’s UK market share has grown by 70%, according to the company, which amassed AUS$ 1 billion in annual sales.
He added: “John Ratcliffe has done a fantastic job in terms of creating a platform from which I can create commercial opportunities. He has managed the acquisition of Geyser Peak, Mud House and Viña Anakena, and has been a great mentor.
“The UK is the largest division, and the reason I will be spending half my time here and the other in Australia is because it is such a large part of our infrastructure and business. Some of the things we have learned here in terms of how to work with the supermarkets can be overlaid elsewhere and help us deliver in the Australian market.
“I’m very pleased to be staying part of the UK trade, which has been my backyard for the past 11 years.”