Zucker is a former "Today" and current "Katie" producer, who left NBC Universal nearly two years ago.
He will succeed outgoing CNN President and Chief Executive Jim Walton, who said in July he was stepping down from the post.
"Jeff's experience as a news executive is unmatched for its breadth and success," Phil Kent, chairman and chief executive officer of Turner Broadcasting System -- CNN's parent company -- said in a statement. "In a career that has seen significant professional success in both broadcast and cable, Jeff has demonstrated his ability to run multiple lines of business and fiercely defend journalists and journalism."
"I am thrilled to join the distinguished team of journalists across the worldwide platforms of CNN," Zucker said in a statement. "The global reach and scale of the CNN brand is unparalleled in all of news. Outside of my family and the Miami Dolphins, there is nothing I am as passionate about as journalism."