January-Mclean is currently the South African Ambassador to Portugal and will take up her new three-year role on 1 January 2010.
South African Minister of Tourism minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk said: "January-Mclean's skills as a consummate manager, her exceptional understanding of the South African brand and her insight into the strategic challenges faced by the tourism industry will serve her well in her new position. Tourism in South Africa has grown with leaps and bounds in the last decade, but the industry also faces many challenges. I am sure January-Mclean will steer SAT ably in order to take advantage of the new opportunities."
January-Mclean takes over from SAT chief operating officer Didi Moyle, who acted as chief executive from March 2009.
Van Schalkwyk added: "Ms Moyle did an outstanding job as acting chief executive officer during this very busy period as we build up to the 2010 Soccer World Cup and it was a privilege to have her at the helm of SAT."