Mr Cohen will resign from the board in February 2007 when he turns 65 after 14 years with the contractor.
He has been responsible for rail at board level since 1996. These responsibilities will be taken up by Manfred Leger, currently MD of the German-based rail electrification project business Balfour Beatty Rail Power Systems.
Balfour Beatty chairman Sir David John said: 'Jim Cohen has been instrumental in the successful growth of both our international rail business and our PPP investments business. We thank him sincerely for his efforts and wish him well for a long and happy retirement.'