Paul Lambert's Premier League experience and his knowledge of the Stoke squad convinced the club's owners he was the man to replace Mark Hughes.
After failing to persuade Derby's Gary Rowett, Espanyol's Quique Sanchez Flores and Republic of Ireland boss Martin O'Neill to take the job, the Potters settled on Lambert.
The 48-year-old, who has signed a two-and-half-year contract to become Hughes' successor, has previously managed in the top flight with Norwich and Aston Villa and in the Championship with Blackburn and Wolves.
"Paul greatly impressed us with his knowledge of our squad and had a clear plan of how he would improve our results," said chairman Peter Coates.
"He's a man who backed himself as a player, none more so than when he turned down contract offers in Scotland to go on trial in the German Bundesliga with Borussia Dortmund, and it's obvious he adopts the same approach as a manager."
Lambert will be officially presented at a press conference at the bet365 Stadium on Tuesday but was in the Old Trafford directors' box to watch his new side against Manchester United on Monday.
Hughes was sacked nine days ago just hours after an embarrassing FA Cup exit to League Two side Coventry and with them mired in the Premier League relegation zone.
Lambert's primary aim is to guide the club away from the bottom three and to safety before the end of the season.
"When the club made a managerial change nine days ago we stated that we were looking to make an appointment as soon as possible, particularly given our position in the league and the overriding priority being retaining our place in the Premier League," said a Stoke statement.
"The club reviewed a number of people against the criteria set and met with a small number of parties who had expressed an interest in the job."
Vice-chairman John Coates said Lambert's previous clubs had made him the obvious choice.
"We were determined to appoint someone with Premier League experience or an extensive knowledge of English football," he said.
"Paul has been successful in management at clubs with a strong and stable background and with local ownership - the kind of foundation we are able to give to our managers.
"We look forward to working with Paul and supporting him to help achieve our goals