Nicholson becomes the third ACA CEO, following the departure of former CEO Paul Marsh in May.
As a professional sportsman Nicholson played 110 Australian Football League (AFL) games for the Melbourne Football Club from 1997 to 2006, including the 2000 Grand Final.
During his time as a player Nicholson sat on the AFL Players' Association Executive, becoming involved in the Collective Bargaining negotiations and education program development.
Following his football career he has worked most recently at consultancy company Gemba Group as Head of Strategy, where he has developed an extensive understanding of the business of sport through working with the major codes in Australia across a broad range of strategic planning, commercialisation and participation issues.
ACA President Greg Dyer said, "I'm proud to announce that Alistair Nicholson will be joining the ACA as CEO, following a comprehensive, nation-wide search.
"A unanimous decision was reached by the selection committee, which consisted of ACA Executive members Neil Maxwell, Lisa Sthalekar, Shane Watson and myself.
"His exposure to the issues faced by athletes during his time with the AFLPA, combined with his roles at Gemba make him a great choice for the position."
Australian all-rounder and ACA Executive Member Shane Watson said, "We're thrilled to welcome Alistair on board. In addition to his background in sport from a business and strategic viewpoint, Alistair has an impressive understanding of issues from a player's perspective, which I'm sure will resonate with current players as well as the broader ACA membership.
"I know the players will look forward to working with him and continuing the ACA's history of strong and passionate representation, and providing us with a vital collective voice in the game."
Speaking about his appointment, Alistair Nicholson said, "I'm honoured and humbled to be given the opportunity to represent the ACA members. I am passionate about the range of issues facing players and motivated by the desire to ensure access to world leading services, including supporting players to prepare themselves for their post sporting life.
"The ACA is a terrific organisation and has achieved a large amount in a relatively short period. The current partnership approach provides a strong basis to build upon and I look forward to working with all stakeholders to grow the game of cricket in an increasingly sophisticated sporting environment, both in Australia and overseas."
Alistair possesses a Bachelor of Commerce (University of Melbourne) and a Bachelor of Arts (Monash University).
Nicholson will commence his role with the ACA on Monday 27th October.