Colette Kress, who has worked in the technology industry for 24 years, replaces interim CFO Karen Burns, who stepped in after Nvidia's previous CFO David White left in May 2011 for personal reasons.
The appointment of a new CFO was seen as unlikely to mark any major changes at Nvidia, which is expanding into tablets and smartphones as its core business of selling graphics chips for personal computers faces pressure.
"When you have a very strong CEO, as Nvidia does, the strategy and direction very clearly comes from the corner office, so a CFO change is not indicative of an inflection point in the direction of the company," said RBC Capital analyst Doug Freedman.
Nvidia Chief Executive and co-founder Jen-Hsun Huang said in a statement that Kress, who most recently was senior vice president and chief financial officer at Cisco's Business Technology and Operations Finance organization, would help the company extend into visual computing, mobile and cloud computing.
Burns will return to her previous job as Nvidia's controller, company spokesman Robert Sherbin said in an email.
"We were waiting until we found the right fit. In the meantime, our interim CFO was doing a great job, which gave us time to hold off until we found the right individual," Sherbin said.
Shares of Nvidia edged up to $15.83 in extended trade after closing up 0.06 percent at $15.81.