Mr Cavanagh, originally from Auckland, has more than 15 years' experience in premium and luxury hotels, having worked in Indonesia, Australia and New Zealand.
Most recently he worked for Rydges Hotels and Resorts Group as Rydges North Melbourne general manager and has also been Windsor Hotel and Grand Chancellor Hotel business development manager in Melbourne.
"I'm very much looking forward to working with the great team at Eichardt's," he said.
"Not only is Queenstown an iconic national and international tourist destination, but Eichardt's is an iconic luxury property."
The move to Queenstown would be a "complete lifestyle change" for himself, his wife Jo and daughters Phoebe (7) and Scarlett (3) and he hoped to dig out his rugby boots and "do some training with the Wakatipu team".
Eichardt's owners, Andrew and Sarah Cox, said they were "extremely pleased" with Mr Cavanagh's appointment, and wished Mr McIntosh well.
"We very much appreciate all that Chris has achieved at Eichardt's, particularly in his contribution to putting Eichardt's on a sustainable growth path," Mr Cox said.
Mr Cavanagh began his new role on Monday.