Kerry, a decorated Vietnam War veteran and 2004 Democratic presidential nominee, will replace Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Kerry became the clear frontrunner for the position when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration. Rice stepped aside citing concern that the confirmation process would have been "lengthy, disruptive and costly" due to persistent Republican opposition to her response to the Sept. 11 anniversary attack on a U.S. compound Benghazi, Libya.
Kerry has been member of the Foreign Relations Committee for 27 years, the last six as chairman. The senator has traveled extensively in his capacity as intrepid lawmaker and unofficial envoy for Obama, tamping down diplomatic fires in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Egypt, the AP reports.
"He is not going to need a lot of on-the-job training," Obama said during the nomination announcement.