Despite being hailed as an "outstanding journalist" by BBC director general Tony Hall, many viewers took to Twitter to lambast the broadcaster’s decision to hire Davis and question whether his interviewing style is strong enough to keep hardened politicians on their toes.
Not everyone was against Davis stepping up to the job, however, with plenty of fans sending their congratulations to the openly gay Dragons' Den and Radio 4 Today presenter.
Davis himself has spoken about his new appointment, calling it a "scary prospect" that will be "an adventure and a challenge".
"How could I turn down the offer of this role on Newsnight, treading in the footsteps of some of the best television presenters in the business?" he said. As it turns out, a lot of people wish that he had.
Evan Davis to replace Paxman on #newsnight. Ugh. No thanks.— Ben Kelly (@TheScepticIsle) July 21, 2014
Evan Davis presenting Newsnight eh. I guess we can look forward to pointlessly aggressive questions & barely concealed smirking then. Yay.— Mat Burt (@batmurt) July 21, 2014
Some tweets drew attention to Davis' controversial dedication to the Today show during the BBC strike over employees' pensions in 2010.
Davis and his co-presenter Sarah Montague ignored a 48-hour journalists' walkout, arriving at 3.30am before their striking colleagues had a chance to stop them.
Evan Davis replacing Paxman? That's me never watching Newsnight. Can't stand his presenting style and he scabbed on the BBC strike.— Rhys Bart (@rhysbart) July 21, 2014
Multiple Twitter users criticised the BBC's failure to introduce a female presenter…
@IndyArts Had to be a bloke......— Anne Wareham (@AnneWareham) July 21, 2014
@IndyArts Not impressed. Why not a female presenter after Paxman?— Robert Michaels RIBA (@ukarchitect) July 21, 2014
Evan Davis for #newsnight! Forgive me, but I can think of scores of women who could do the job just as well, and yet the BBC... Again.— Rav (@RavGMB) July 21, 2014
Pale, male and Oxbridge may be culled at Tory Cabinet - but more than good enough for Newsnight it seems ..? #EvanDavis— Xlibris1 (@Xlibris1) July 21, 2014
…while others doubted Davis' ability to put politicians under pressure.
Sad for Newsnight strength? @IndyArts— screaminkid (@screaminkid) July 21, 2014
Evan David is a lovely chap, but an apt replacement for the vicious Paxman? Doubtful.— Liam Collins (@Doctor_Collins) July 21, 2014
Then there are the Davis supporters, convinced that he will "surprised the doubters".
Congrats to @EvanHD on the Newsnight role - great appointment— Andrew Hawkins (@Andrew_ComRes) July 21, 2014
Warm congrats to @EvanHD -- the BBC could hardly have picked a smarter, more engaged or more likeable Newsnight anchor.— Guy Lodge (@GuyLodge) July 21, 2014
Paxman's final Newsnight aired on 18 June, ending his time as main presenter for more than 20 years. Davis, 52, will present the programme three nights a week from this autumn, with the existing team remaining.