Mr Woodall will take up the role next week, taking over from Jamie Frankcombe, who held the role for just 12 months.
Fortescue said Mr Frankcombe is returning to Sydney later this month to be with his family.
He is one of half a dozen senior executives who have resigned from, or left, the company over the past 18 months.
These include former operations director Paul Hallam, projects director William Ramsay and executive director Russell Scrimshaw, who left the business in 2011.
More recently, long-serving government relations boss Julian Tapp and investor relations head Rod Campbell left the company in September last year when the company was forced to axe 1000 staff and contractors.
Two months later, Fortescue’s director of external relations, Deidre Willmott, announced she would be leaving the company to become the executive chairman at public relations firm Cannings Purple.
Mr Woodall has more than 27 years’ experience in the resources industry in senior executive positions, and was previously the president and chief executive of Altynalmas Gold, which holds a gold project in Kazakhstan.
He has also held senior positions at Ivanhoe Mines and Glencore International, and has run one of Rio Tinto’s largest mines at West Angelas in the Pilbara.
Fortescue chief executive Nev Power today said he was excited about Mr Woodall’s appointment.
“His appointment gets us off to a fantastic start for 2013 and I look forward to working with him in another record breaking year for our great company,” chief executive Nev Power said.
Fortescue is planning to take its production rate to 155 million tonnes per year by the end of calendar 2013 after deciding last month to restart work at the Kings deposit at the Solomon mine.