Collier, who spent 10 years with the ECB and also worked for the International Cricket Council, will take up the specially-created role on April 1 and will be based in London.
He said: “I’m honoured by the opportunity to lead RLIF and the sport of rugby league and thank the chairman and the board for their trust in me.
“My first priority is to meet with the broadest possible range of stakeholders, develop and commence delivery of our strategic plan and create an international calendar which reflects the strength of our club competitions throughout the world and the success of the World Cup.
“Rugby league is one of the world’s most exciting sports and the enthusiasm of the crowds and television audiences at the recent World Cup demonstrates the great chance we have to further expand and develop.”
Collier, who attended the 2013 World Cup semi-final between England and New Zealand, said consolidation of the international game is among his priorities.
“I’ve already committed that we intend to increase the number of member nations but it is equally, if not more important, to enhance playing standards and the financial well-being within the existing full members,” he added.
“In my opinion, there can be no better advert for the game than a competitive World Cup or World Club Challenge.
“If we have a very successful international game and World Cup, domestic leagues will benefit from that. Also the international game benefits from strong domestic leagues so the two have to be hand in glove and that’s what we need to achieve.”
RLIF chairman Nigel Wood said: “RLIF is delighted to have appointed a CEO with 30 years’ experience of leading a number of the world’s leading sports organisations.
“David has the highest reputation in the world of sport.
“He brings a wealth of international experience as RLIF seeks to build upon the success of the 2013 World Cup and the exciting prospects for the Rugby League World Cup in Australia and New Zealand in 2017.”