Polisky will officially hold the title of vice president for athletics and recreation. He'll replace Jim Phillips, who was hired as ACC commissioner in December, and deputy athletic director Janna Blais, who served as Wildcats interim vice president over the last three months.
"After our search committee conducted a thorough nationwide search and identified a number of strong candidates, I appointed Mike Polisky to build on our unprecedented successes and to lead Northwestern athletics and recreation into a new era," Northwestern president Morton Schapiro said in a statement.
Polisky has been with the Wildcats since 2010 as deputy director of athletics for external affairs.
"Over the last 11 years I've had the honor of working for the best and brightest student-athletes in college athletics, alongside the most impressive group of coaches and staff in the industry, at one of the most remarkable institutions of higher education in the world," Polisky said.
Duke senior deputy athletic director Nina King was one of several other finalists or the position, sources told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg.
Polisky's hiring was delayed while Northwestern investigated a federal lawsuit filed by former Wildcats cheerleader Hayden Richardson, sources told Rittenberg. The lawsuit reportedly lists the school, Polisky, and three other individuals as defendants.
Richardson alleges in the lawsuit that Polisky and the other individuals named as defendants condoned a "hostile environment" in which Richardson and other cheerleaders were subjected to sexual harassment by fans and alumni at events, according to Rittenberg. Richardson's lawsuit also asserts that Polisky said she fabricated her claims and prevented her from meeting with Phillips.
Northwestern reportedly filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit Friday after reviewing the case.