He will take up his new role from September 1, for a five-year term.
Thompson has been chairman at The Kia Oval since 2010 and has been instrumental in the club’s success both on and off the field.
Steve Elworthy, Surrey County Cricket Club chief executive, said: “Everyone at Surrey County Cricket Club would like to congratulate Richard on his new role.
“The sport couldn’t be in better hands.
“Throughout his time at our club, his passion for cricket has been clear for all to see.
“Richard has a strong vision for the future of cricket, one which will gather support from across the game and beyond.
“Richard has led a period of extraordinary transformation at Surrey and his contribution as chairman of our club has been outstanding.
“Our treasurer Martin Eadon will step into the role of chairman from September 1 while we conduct the process of appointing Richard’s successor, but for now the club would like to record our appreciation to Richard for the incredible impact he has had at Surrey.”
Thompson said: “I am immensely proud to become chairman of the ECB at what is a hugely important time for cricket.
“Cricket has given me the chance to meet an incredibly diverse range of amazing people.
“Their passion, endeavour and love for the game is what I want to harness, to take our game forward, to new heights across England and Wales.
“Cricket should be the most inclusive sport in the country, welcoming people from all backgrounds, helping bring communities together.
“For those communities where we have fallen short, I will work tirelessly to restore their trust in the game.
“With the men’s and women’s Ashes on the horizon, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup in October and the recent successes in our red ball game – along with hosting the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup in 2026 – there is much ahead of us.
“I am looking forward to using my experience and love for the game in taking this opportunity to give cricket a fresh start.
“Alongside the board and senior leaders at the ECB, we will work with the counties and the recreational game.
“Collaboration and partnership will be key to our sport’s future.”