Berkett, who has been a member of the GMG board since November 2009, succeeds Dame Amelia Fawcett, who retires later this year after more than four years as chair.
Berkett brings more than 25 years' experience at customer-facing companies, including ntl, Virgin Media's predecessor, which he joined as chief operating officer in September 2005.
Previously, he has worked for Lloyds TSB, Prudential Assurance Company Ltd UK, St George Bank, Eastwest Airlines Australia and ICL Australia. He is also a trustee of the NSPCC and chairs the National Development Committee.
Fawcett, previously vice-chair of Morgan Stanley's European operations, joined the GMG board in 2007 as an independent and was appointed chair in April 2009.
She has presided over the board during a challenging period for the publishing business, which has seen a series of cost-cutting initiatives and restructures following wider change within the media landscape.
Dame Liz Forgan, chair of The Scott Trust, credited the outgoing chair with keeping GMG "not just on track, but ahead of plan".
Fawcett said of her successor: "This new chapter in the long and illustrious Guardian story demands experience in new media and digital communications, which is why Neil, working closely with Andrew Miller, Alan Rusbridger and the members of the GMG board and The Scott Trust, is exactly the right person to take on the chair."
Established in 1936, The Scott Trust is the sole shareholder of GMG and its core business is Guardian News & Media – publisher of The Guardian and The Observer, as well as guardian.co.uk, guardiannews.com in the US and the recently-launched Guardian Australia website.
Last week’s NRS PADD figures found GNM's titles are collectively the most-read quality newspaper combination in Britain for daily, weekly and monthly reach.