He has been working as dean of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto since leaving the Bank of Canada last year.
Macklem had been touted as a possible governor of the Bank of Canada when Mark Carney announced his departure for the Bank of England.
However, Stephen Poloz was named to the top job at the central bank in 2013.
Macklem brings to Scotiabank a wealth of experience from his time at the Bank of Canada and as a former senior bureaucrat in the Finance Department.
Scotiabank chairman Thomas O'Neill says Macklem's experience and understanding of the financial services industry makes him a strong addition to Scotiabank's board.
"We look forward to the insight and international knowledge that he will bring to the board," O'Neill said in a statement Monday.
The addition of Macklem increases the Scotiabank board of directors to 14 members.