Snedden, who played 25 Tests and 93 one-day internationals for New Zealand between 1981 and 1990, will take up the post with Rugby New Zealand 2011, the company responsible for managing the event.
"I certainly didn't feel stale in cricket. I was revelling in the many challenges that arise from day to day in the business but this job had a real attraction," said Snedden.
"The Rugby World Cup in 2011 should be the greatest event held in New Zealand and I just really felt the desire to be closely involved in it.
"You never get to the stage where you think you've achieved everything, but I'm satisfied we have made progress in areas. But there is still plenty to be done.
Rugby New Zealand 2011 and New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs confirmed Snedden had been head-hunted and beat international competition for the role on the back of his reputation at home and experience in sports and issues management.
Deputy New Zealand Rugby Union chief executive Steve Tew has been strongly linked with filling Snedden's role.
Tew, who hails from Christchurch - where New Zealand Cricket is based - has been linked with a return to his home city, having previously being involved with Cantebrury and Crusaders.