The Frenchman, who enjoyed two spells with Zambia and also managed Angola, fills the role vacated by Sabri Lamouchi after a World Cup campaign that ended in the group stages.
Renard was on a three-man shortlist of candidates who were interviewed for the role, with the 45-year-old being favoured ahead of compatriot Frederic Antonetti and former Benfica coach Manuel Jose.
Ivory Coast Football Association chairman Sidy Diallo outlined his vision for the future under Renard, who has signed for an initial period of two years.
"The new coach will help guide the team which will enter a transition period very soon," Diallo said.
"We will use the 2015 and 2017 AFCON [Africa Cup of Nations] to rebuild the outfit and raise a new generation of players for the national team.
"We have to be patient. Our new project is focused on 2019 and I want Ivorians to bear with us and should not expect immediate results.
"The project he presented to us is in perfect line with the future plans for the team. His salary proposal was also the best."
A spell with Sochaux last season ended with relegation from Ligue 1 for Renard, who has also worked in China with Guizhou Renhe and in England with Cambridge United.
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