John Smit will leave double-chasing Saracens in the summer to return to Sharks Super Rugby as chief executive.
The Durban-based Sharks announced Smit would take over the role on July 1, succeeding Brian van Zyl, who will stay on to mentor the front row until he retires from rugby in February.
Sharks chairman Stephen Saad said: "John Smit's appointment marks the dawn of a new and exciting era at the Sharks (Pty) Ltd.
"We look forward to welcoming the favourite son of South African Rugby to his new role as CEO.
"We pledge our support and commitment to him and have every confidence that he will embrace his new role, with the same leadership, spirit and vigour that he displayed as the most capped Springbok captain and player of all time."
Smit gave up international rugby ahead of joining Saracens after the 2011 World Cup, following 111 Test appearances.
He captained the Springboks in 83 internationals, which is an international record, including the 2007 World Cup final victory over England, and also played for the Sharks for over a decade ahead of his move to the Aviva Premiership.
He made his debut for Saracens against Benetton Treviso in the 2011/12 Heineken Cup, making 18 appearances for the club in his first season.
The 35-year-old has appeared 21 times this term so far as Sarries chase a league and European Cup double.