"I have asked Barbara to take on this role because of her vast experience as a network executive and her keen understanding of Canada's ever-changing media landscape," Tait said, in a statement released Wednesday.
In the statement, Williams said she is "very excited" to join CBC.
"I believe wholeheartedly in the importance of strong, dynamic Canadian content, and in the critical role the public broadcaster plays in providing timely and trustworthy news," she said.
"I'm looking forward to working with the team at CBC to bring even more compelling Canadian stories to our audiences."
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Syracuse University, Williams has been ranked as one of Canada's 100 most powerful women by Women's Executive Network and has received the outstanding achievement award from Women in Film & Television for her work in the industry.
Williams will start her new role on May 1.