Adam Palmer has 28 years' experience and has held the position of deputy chief for five years.
The department says Palmer was one of two outstanding internal candidates to replace retiring Chief Jim Chu and that a date for a formal change-of-command ceremony has yet to be announced.
The other deputy chief, Doug LePard, decided to withdraw his application and support his colleague.
Mayor Gregor Robertson, chairman of the eight-member Vancouver Police Board, says the unanimous decision to hire Adam was made after a final interview on Thursday.
Chu says he's pleased that the new chief was chosen internally and that he thanks LePard for making a difficult decision to put the department's interests first.