Bolton (pictured) will retire from the investment trust in March next year, with Nicholls taking over his duties on 1 April 2014.
While to some Australian Nicholls might seem an unusual choice to replace former Special Situations star Bolton, he is a highly regarded investor with a Citywire Eurostars A-rating for Fidelity's Pacific and Asian Smaller Companies Luxembourg funds.
Fidelity chose to announce Bolton's retirement by issuing a brief statement to the stock market and said it will provide further details on the manager's succession plan when Fidelity China Special Situations posts its full-year results later today.
It is little secret, however, that Nicholls has taken on a tough challenge by agreeing to replace Bolton given the £616 million trust has struggled to outperform since its launch in 2010.
Over three years to the end of April the fund has seen its share price fall 13.97% versus a 1.41% rise in the MSCI China Index, while its net asset value (NAV) per share - a key measure of growth within the portfolio - stands at -1.55%.
At the trust's inception, Bolton said he would manage the vehicle until April 2012 then extended his commitment for a further two years.
Commenting on his decision to retire and Nicholls' appointment, John Owen, chair of the trust, said: 'Stepping into the shoes of Anthony is a significant challenge so we are delighted to have appointed a portfolio manager with a demonstrable record of success investing in the Asia Pacific region and specifically within China.
'We selected Dale to continue the research-driven stock-picking approach which we continue to believe is the route to success in this exciting market.'