Mark Cutifani, head of AngloGold Ashanti will replace outgoing chief executive Cynthia Carroll at the helm of mining giant AngloAmerican.
After weeks of extensive speculation the announcement was made on the London and Johannesburg stock exchanges early on Tuesday morning.
Cutifani, who will take over on April 3, had been widely punted as a preferred choice, in the lead up to the announcement.
Large Anglo American shareholders such as the Public Investment Corporation, as well as Mineral Resources Minister Susan Shabangu, publicly stated their hope that a South African would get the top job. Roughly 37% of group assets are based in South Africa, and generate 55% of group operating profit according to the PIC.
Cutifani originally hails from Australia. However, he is nevertheless widely respected in the local industry, having successfully improved AngloGold Ashanti's performance after stepping into the position of chief executive at the company in 2007. He is the current president of the South African Chamber of Mines.
Carroll announced her resignation in October last year, following lack lustre performance by AngloAmerican, and in the wake of extensive labour unrest particularly in the South Africa's platinum mining sector.
In a press release, AngloAmerican chairperson, Sir John Parker said Cutifani was an experienced listed company chief executive "with a focus on creating value".
"He is a seasoned miner, with broad experience of mining operations and projects across a wide range of commodities and geographies, including South Africa and the Americas," said Parker.