Preller, 37, was the assistant general manager of the Texas Rangers and developed a reputation for spotting international talent.
He replaces Josh Byrnes, who was fired June 22 following a rough start to the 2014 season.
Preller has a “well-rounded resume in scouting, both internationally with amateurs and the professional scouting level, as well as the last year overseeing player development with the Texas Rangers — that stood out,” Padres President and CEO Mike Dee said.
“Lastly, and most importantly from our point of view — and probably the difference-maker in our decision — was that all along the most important characteristic was who would be able to bring impact talent to the San Diego Padres organization, championship talent,” Dee said.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but published reports say he received a five-year contract.
“I understand it’s a big responsibility and a big challenge, but I feel like I’m up for the challenge,” said Preller, a native of Huntington Station, N.Y., and graduate of Cornell University.
While the Rangers international program is recognized as one of the best in baseball, Preller said he doesn’t look at himself as someone who is just an international guy, or a scouting guy or an analytics guy who looks solely at the numbers, but someone who has worn a lot of hats in his career.
He said the goal of everyone in the organization should be to win the World Series.
A.J. Hinch, who partially filled-in for Byrnes leading up to the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, declined to interview for the job and resigned Tuesday. The Padres lost another front office employee today when Chad MacDonald, the team’s vice president and assistant general manager for player personnel, also stepped down.
When asked if any decisions had been made on the fate of Bud Black, Preller said he had a good impression of the Padres field manager and looked forward to getting to know him.