The Right Honourable Lord Bracadale will lead the independent public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh.
The appointment of Lord Bracadale, a retired senator of the College of Justice, was announced by Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf.
The inquiry, announced by Mr Yousaf in November, will examine the circumstances leading up to Mr Bayoh's death in Kirkcaldy in May 2015, and the events that followed.
It came after it was confirmed no police officers will face criminal charges over Mr Bayoh's death, which happened after he had been restrained.
The justice secretary says he intends to meet Lord Bracadale, the Bayoh family and others over the coming weeks to discuss the terms of reference, before reporting to parliament in due course.
The terms of reference will determine the scope, direction and parameters of the inquiry.
Mr Yousaf said: "I am delighted that Lord Bracadale has agreed to chair this public inquiry. Lord Bracadale brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this important task of providing a clear understanding of the circumstances surrounding Mr Bayoh's death.
"The public inquiry and its recommendations will identify lessons and improvements for the future to help prevent deaths in similar circumstances and build trust and confidence in policing."
Lord Bracadale said: "I welcome the invitation to chair the public inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the death of Sheku Bayoh.
"I am grateful to the cabinet secretary for justice for appointing me. I know that Mr Bayoh's family and other interested parties, as well as the general public, will expect a careful and thorough examination of the facts. I very much hope that my inquiry will provide an open and transparent means of exploring the issues."