Derby-born David Frost, 48, will succeed 68-year-old Gavin Hewitt when he steps down as chief executive of the SWA at the end of 2013.
The SWA noted that Mr Frost, who lists languages among his interests, was now learning "some Gaelic". Mr Frost highlighted how much he was looking forward to living in Edinburgh.
Mr Hewitt, like Mr Frost, worked in the diplomatic service before taking up the top job at the SWA in October 2003.
During Mr Hewitt's time at the head of the Scotch whisky trade body, the industry has enjoyed rapid growth.
In 2003, Scotch whisky exports were worth £2.4 billion. In terms of volume, Scotch whisky exports in 2003 were the equivalent of 975 million 70-centilitre bottles at 40% alcohol by volume.
Last year, Scotch whisky exports amounted to £4.3bn, equivalent to 1.2 billion bottles.
In his role at the UK Government's Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, Mr Frost has been the senior official responsible for the UK's trade policy, the SWA observed yesterday as it announced his appointment.
Highlighting its incoming chief executive's experience in the sphere of international trade, the SWA added that Mr Frost worked closely with the European Commission, other major trading countries outwith the European Union, and a range of commercial and trade bodies.
Mr Frost is a diplomat by profession, and was ambassador to Denmark between 2006 and 2008, and a director for both strategy and the European Union in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The SWA noted that Mr Frost spoke French, German, Modern Greek and Danish, and had some Russian, Dutch and Spanish, plus a "smattering" of other languages, while highlighting his new interest in Gaelic. The SWA listed Mr Frost's interests as languages and linguistics, medieval history, modern politics and economics, detective fiction and ghost stories, German composer Richard Wagner and football.
Mr Frost, who will join the SWA on January 2, said: "My career to date working in economic, trade, and EU affairs in the UK and overseas has given me a wealth of experience of global commercial issues which will stand me in good stead in my new role in the Scotch whisky industry. "
He added: "I am excited about taking up this new position at the helm of this highly-respected trade body, which provides an invaluable service to the industry. I am also very much looking forward to living and working in Edinburgh."
Mr Hewitt said: "I have thoroughly enjoyed my 10 years as chief executive of the Scotch Whisky Association.
"The industry has expanded to meet surging global demand, with exports almost doubling in the last 10 years, and unprecedented levels of new investment."
He added: "Scotch whisky is vital to the UK and Scottish economies.
"David Frost's experience of working closely on economic affairs in the UK and overseas fits him well for the role of SWA chief executive."
Diageo and Pernod Ricard have announced major investments in expanding their Scotch whisky production capacity. Glasgow-based Edrington, which has brands including The Famous Grouse and The Macallan, plans investment in new capacity.