The appointment provides a boost to the agency's planning credentials. AKQA has been without a top strategist since James Clifton vacated the role a year ago.
Beattie will oversee a team of 11 and work on developing the agency's brand engagement strategies. He will also lead new business.
Tom Bedecarre, the global chief executive of AKQA, said: "Strategic planning is an integral part of a new-business team so bringing someone like Alistair in gives us more depth.
"We think he's the type of person who will be a great leader inside the company and within the industry. He can engage clients at a senior level and generate confidence."
Beattie joined AMV in 2006 and helped establish the agency's digital offering. He reported to the managing partner George Bryant, who has left to launch a start-up.
Before joining AMV, Beattie held roles including that of group senior planner at LBi and the head of the interactive department at Wieden & Kennedy Amsterdam.
He was previously a managing partner of Me Company, the London-based design and branding consultancy whose clients included Bjork, Apple and Kenzo.