Scanlon, a University College Cork graduate, joined the group 21 years ago as part of a graduate scheme and undertook the Asia-Pacific division in 2014.
He will be replacing Stan McCarthy, who is retiring at the age of 60, after reportedly being paid a total of €4.3m from the Kerry Group last year.
McCarthy has been chief executive of the company since 2008.
Michael Dowling, Kerry Group Chairman, explained why Scanlon was the right candidate for the job.
“It was clear in our view that we had sufficient talent within the company that we didn’t have to go externally,” he said, adding that Scanlon’s “vision, experience and energy, and a range of other qualities … made him the best candidate to drive the company forward.”
Scanlon told investors in London that he is 'honoured and privileged' to be appointed the position.
The news is accompanied by the group’s financial reports in which it announced its revenue of €6.13m and its trading profits rising 7.1% to €750m, compared to €700m in 2015.
The company also revealed its group revenue as €6.1bn, reflecting a 3.6% growth.
Speaking about the results, McCarthy said: “The group remains confident of its ability to sustain profitable growth throughout global markets. In 2017 we expect to achieve good revenue growth and 5% to 9% growth in adjusted earnings per share.”
McCarthy has also outlined the group’s acquisition plans for 2017, saying the group is in 'acquisition mode'.
Scanlon will formally take on the role on 1 October, following McCarthy’s departure at the end of September.