Edwards takes over from the long-serving Ghilad Dziesietnik, who has retired after 25 years at the group.
Dziesietnik had held a number of technology leadership roles at EFI, and spent the last 14 years as CTO.
In his new role Edwards will be reunited with former colleague Jeff Jacobson – both were formerly executives at Kodak Polychrome Graphics and Kodak.
Jacobson, who took over as chairman and chief executive of EFI five months ago, said: “Doug possesses one of the best technological backgrounds in our industry, and combines technology with demonstrated business accomplishments.
"I had the pleasure of working closely with Doug – when I was the CEO of KPG, as well as when I was the COO of Kodak's Graphic Communications business – and I cannot think of a better person in our industry to lead EFI's strategic and technology developments."
Edwards will be based in the US at EFI’s facility in Manchester, New Hampshire.
He said he looked forward to bringing his inkjet experience to EFI, which takes an agnostic approach to printheads and uses technology from a number of vendors.
"EFI was a customer of mine while with Xaar, and I am very aware of the unique opportunity EFI has now to further develop a portfolio that includes many of the world's leading digital inkjet and print workflow solutions,” he said.
Edwards helmed Xaar for almost five years. He left in October 2019 following a torrid period at the business that culminated in it canning its Thin Film printhead project.
He joins at a busy time for the business, with EFI’s annual Connect user conference taking place later this month in Las Vegas. The event brings together customers and partners from across its portfolio of products including frontends, MIS, and industrial inkjet printers for a diverse range of applications.
Jacobson has made a number of senior appointments since he took over. He brought in former Xerox colleague Grant Fitz as chief finance officer in September, and last month Geoff Loftus was appointed vice president for inkjet service.