Full-back Southwell led the side on a number of occasions last season and the 59-times capped Scottish international says he is honoured to be given the role on a permanent basis.
"It couldn't be a bigger honour to be named captain and I'm hugely looking forward to it," he said.
"When I did captain the side on occasions last year it was always a real pleasure because we've got a great bunch of talented guys here and lots of leaders in the squad.
"I feel there is a different dynamic at the club this year with the players we have brought in. We've added some real quality so it's going to be a privilege to lead them out."
Southwell will be part of a back-line this season which has been boosted by the arrival of new signings Stephen Jones, Lee Thomas, Andrea Masi, James Bailey and Tommy Bell and he is keen to get started.
"I was disappointed and frustrated to miss the end of the season so I'm desperate to get back out there and get things going again," he added.
Marco Wentzel, another player in his second season at Wasps, will provide strong support in the vice-captaincy role.
London Wasps Director of Rugby Dai Young said both players represent excellent leadership at the club.
"Both Hugo and Marco were a massive help in a very difficult season last year and they are both very strong leaders," said Young.
"While Hugo is captain, I see Marco playing a big supporting role throughout the season."
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