MSPs unanimously backed the appointment of Paul Wheelhouse, Humza Yousaf, Margaret Burgess and Joe Fitzpatrick as junior ministers in the Scottish government, after First Minister Alex Salmond proposed them on 6 September 2012.
Mr Salmond paid tribute to Bruce Crawford, Stewart Stevenson and Brian Adam.
Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business Bruce Crawford, who had been negotiating details of the independence referendum with the UK government, is retiring from cabinet.
Stewart Stevenson and Brian Adam, are also both leaving government.
Mr Salmond said the four new ministers were well aware they had hard acts to follow and welcomed Margaret Burgess to the Housing and Welfare brief, Joe Fitzpatrick as minister for parliamentary business, Paul Wheelhouse as the new environment and climate change minister and Humza Yousaf as the first Muslim minister in the history of the Scottish Parliament as the new external affairs and international development minister.
Labour MSP Ken Macintosh, Conservative MSP Jackson Carlaw, Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, SNP MSP Gil Patterson and Green MSP and party co-convener Patrick Harvie all paid warm tributes to the retiring ministers and wittily welcomed the new appointments.