Xero chief executive Rod Drury is stepping down next month after almost 12 years in charge.
Drury will continue in his role as a non-executive director, focusing on innovation and strategy at the accounting software firm.
Steve Vamos, who has more than 30 years experience in the technology industry, will take over as chief executive and day-to-day operations.
Over the past 18 months Vamos has worked closely with Xero's executive team developing its management capability and operating model, the company said.
Xero chair Graham Smith said Vamos was a good fit for the role.
"Succession planning has been high on the board's agenda and with the business performing strongly, we believe the time is right to make the transition at CEO level," Smith said.
"We believe Steve Vamos brings an invaluable skill set to lead Xero. He has worked in some of the world's largest tech companies and is a recognised, purpose-driven people leader, with a focus on growth and operational excellence."
Drury founded the company in 2006 and since then its subscriber base has grown to more than 1.2 million.
"It's been a huge 11 plus years building Xero," Drury said.
"It's amazing to consider we started with just four people in a small Wellington apartment and we now have over 2,000 people across 17 offices in eight countries, and over 1.2 million subscribers.
"I'm so proud of the Xero team, the community that's formed around us, the positive impact we've had on our customers, and the shareholder value we've created."
Vamos has had roles as chief executive of Microsoft in Australia, managing director of Apple in Australia and New Zealand, as well as various roles with IBM.
Vamos officially starts on April 1, and won't join the board of directors.
Xero's shares last traded at A$32.88 on the ASX and have gained 15 per cent so far this year, having listed on the NZX at $1 apiece in 2007.