Gibbes, the former Waikato loose forward-lock who played eight tests for New Zealand in 2004 and 2005, has been forwards coach at French giants Clermont.
Gibbes, 40, is no stranger to the wider Irish scene, being forwards coach at Leinster for six years, helping them to three Heineken Cup titles and working alongside fellow Kiwi and current Ireland coach Joe Schmidt as well as Wallabies coach Michael Cheika.
He moved to France in 2014 but now returns for the prime role in Belfast.
"The respect that I have for Les [Kiss], as a coach and as a person, was one of my main reasons for making this decision. He really sold his vision of where he wants to take Ulster over the next few years," Gibbes, a former Chiefs and New Zealand Maori star, said as his appointment was confirmed.
"Ulster is a team that I know well, having come up against them on a number of occasions. The Clermont-Ulster games this season gave me an insight into the strengths of the squad and it's exciting to think that I'll be part of that environment from next season.
"With six years at Leinster and three years at Clermont in the Top 14, I've been afforded many different experiences, working with some very talented coaches and players. I hope to apply what I've learned to the role at Ulster and my family and I are looking forward to integrating into a strong community in Belfast."
Photo: Jono Gibbes' impressive coaching CV has landed him the prime position at Ulster.