Gettleman, who spent 13 years as the Giants' director of player personnel, will take over from interim Panthers GM Brandon Beane.
Beane was filling the role after the October firing of Marty Hurney.
"I was very impressed with Dave's experience and think he will be a very good fit for our organization," Panthers owner Jerry Richardson said.
"He has an extensive background in personnel and comes from an organization in the New York Giants that I hold in high regard and played an instrumental role in their success."
Gettleman, 61, was part of three Super Bowl-winning teams with the Giants in 2007 and 2011 and with Denver in 1997.
Carolina finished out of the playoff this year with a 7-9 mark.