Maechler, a graduate of the University of Toronto and Geneva's Graduate Institute, is currently deputy division chief of the global markets analysis division at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington.
Following her appointment by the federal government, she will join the central bank's board on July 1st.
The national bank's activities are organized into three departments based in Bern and Zurich.
Maechler will become head of its third department, largely based in Zurich.
Her responsibilities will include money markets and foreign exchange, asset management, banking operations and information technology.
Maechler, 47, will occupy a place on the bank's board being vacated by Jean-Pierre Danthine, who is retiring at the end of June 2015.
Fritz Zurbrügg, previously head of the SNB's third department, was promoted to become the central bank's vice-chairman and head of its second department.
Zurbrügg, 56, will be responsible in Bern for the bank's financial stability, cash, central accounting, controlling, risk management, operational risk and security divisions, the SNB said.
For more information, check the central bank's press release.