He is to be replaced by BP Amoco's vice-president for technology and marketing and BP Bovis Alliance chairman Struan Robertson.
Sir Christopher will become chairman of Wates Holdings, the company which oversees all Wates family investments.
He added that the Wates Group would be looking to invest further in its housebuilding division and was keen to get more PFI contracts.
Non-executive chairman Michael Wates is also retiring. He is to be replaced by Wates group director Andrew Wates.