Parsons was previously chief executive of Coventry Building Society from 2014 until his retirement in April 2020.
He has more than 30 years’ experience in financial services, working at executive level across finance, investor relations, product and retail management, risk management and human resources.
Parsons previously worked at Barclays, where he was the chief financial officer for retail and business banking and also served as the deputy chief executive of Barclays UK Retail Bank.
He has also held posts at Abbey National and PricewaterhouseCoopers.
He will join the board on 20 October after vice chair and senior independent director Mark Pain stepped down on 30 September.
Non-executive director Alison Hutchinson will take on the role of senior independent director and vice chair with effect from 1 October, subject to regulatory approval.
John Heaps, chairman of Yorkshire Building Society, said: “I would like to thank Mark Pain for his outstanding contribution to the society’s success over the past seven years and to wish him well for the future.
“I am delighted to welcome Mark Parsons to our board. His leadership skills and experience, alongside his broad ranging skillset, mean he is well-placed to serve the society in this senior leadership position.
“His depth and breadth of experience in managing retail financial services at an executive level will further strengthen the board.”