Elway previously served as executive vice president of football operations/general manager. He will retain full autonomy over the team's football decisions.
"We're football first here at the Broncos and obviously John is our leader of the team," team president and CEO Joe Ellis said in a statement. "I think he is definitely deserving of this title elevation. It's really a recognition that he deserves for all that he does and all that he has done for this team over the years since he arrived here in 1984."
Elway has seen the Broncos record the second-most overall wins (73) in the NFL since 2011. Denver has captured five AFC West Division titles and reached the Super Bowl on two occasions during that stretch, with the highlight of Elway's tenure as general manager coming in 2015 as the Broncos posted a 24-10 win over the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
Elway played for Denver from 1983-1998 during a Hall of Fame career that was capped with consecutive Super Bowl titles.
He was drafted No. 1 overall by the then-Baltimore Colts, who traded him to Denver.