Cooper has been appointed as head coach of the Super Rugby team on an initial three-year term, succeeding Dave Rennie who will depart at the end of the 2017 season to coach in Glasgow, Scotland.
The current Maori All Blacks and Taranaki head coach has been coaching professionally for over 20 years, including eight seasons as head coach of the Hurricanes from 2003-2010.
Cooper has maintained a flawless record with the Maori All Blacks against international sides since his appointment in 2013 and will lead the side in the NZ Lion Series 2017 in June. He will also coach the Port Taranaki Bulls in the 2017 National Provincial Championship before moving north to commence his role with the Chiefs.
"We are very happy to have secured a coach of Colin's calibre to lead the Chiefs into our 2018 campaign," said Chiefs CEO Andrew Flexman.
"He has a proven track record at international, Super Rugby and provincial levels and we have every confidence he will enhance the legacy Dave Rennie and his team have established here at the Chiefs. The fact he is a home grown coach and is passionate about nurturing young talent will continue to give us a competitive edge.
"Colin's appointment well in advance of our 2018 campaign gives us plenty of time to focus on building our squad and ensure the transition to the new regime is a smooth one. It is an exciting prospect, but in the short term we are all focused on securing another Super Rugby title in 2017."
New Zealand Rugby General Manager of Rugby Neil Sorensen welcomed Cooper's appointment as great news for players and for Chiefs' fans.
"Colin is one of those special coaches who has a proven ability to find new talent and to bring out the best in them on the field. He operates with the utmost integrity, which has earned him great respect from all people he works with.
"He is well regarded by players and administrators and we are delighted that he is extending his involvement in coaching in New Zealand with a return to Super Rugby," Sorensen said.
Cooper added: "I'm really looking forward to joining the Chiefs in 2018 and contributing to the proud, competitive and successful legacy of the team. To be involved in coaching Super Rugby again within the ambitious and innovative setup at the Chiefs is exciting and to have the opportunity to develop young players and coaches for the future of New Zealand rugby is something I'm very passionate about.
"I strongly believe that establishing a cohesive team culture where our people are constantly striving to become better people as well as better players, coaches and administrators is the only way to create meaningful long-term success. I'm excited by what's to come in the near future beginning with the Maori All Blacks and Taranaki in 2017, and then launching into a new era with the Chiefs in 2018."
The Chiefs will undertake a process in the New Year to confirm the wider coaching group for 2018.
For more rugby news, visit Rugby365.com