Professor Suresh, an engineering scholar, will take over from current NTU head Bertil Andersson, who has led the Singaporean institution since 2011.
In 2010, Professor Suresh was chosen by former US president Barack Obama to lead the country’s National Science Foundation.
He then led Carnegie Mellon, one of the US’ top universities (ranked 23rd in the latest Times Higher Education World University Rankings), between 2013 and June 2017.
NTU is the fastest rising young university in the THE World University Rankings, having climbed 120 places between 2010-11 and 2016-17 to reach 54th place in the table.
Professor Suresh, who was born in India, said “it has been a privilege to witness and also participate in the impressive rise of both Singapore and NTU on the international stage” and that he is excited to lead NTU “at a time when Asia is poised to take a significant leadership role in shaping the 21st century”.
He previously served as a consultant to Singapore’s National Science and Technology Board and held the inaugural Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Chair for visiting appointments at the National University of Singapore from 2006 to 2010.
Koh Boon Hwee, chairman of the NTU board of trustees, who announced the appointment, said that Professor Suresh “understands the Singapore higher education and research systems, as well as those in North America, Europe, China and India”.
“He is an educator, scientist, adviser, inventor, entrepreneur and leader all rolled into one,” he added.
Professor Suresh will take the helm at NTU on 1 January 2018.