Briton Nathan, a long-serving coach with British Athletics, will be responsible for strategy, contracts, selection policy and funding in an over-arching role within governing body Athletics Australia (AA).
"I had a great time at the London Olympics, which went very well for me personally," Nathan said. Britain also won a silver and a bronze medal in the athletics events in London.
"I've always admired the Australian sporting culture and the chance to be able to contribute directly is very exciting."
Nathan takes on the portfolio relinquished by former high performance manager Eric Hollingsworth, who will focus exclusively on his role as AA's head coach after a controversy-marred lead-up to the London Games.
AA came under scrutiny for a number of spats with athletes over team selections in the lead-up to London, prompting Australia's Olympic Committee to intervene.
Australia targeted six medals in London but came home with only one gold, for 100 metres hurdles champion Sally Pearson, and two silvers.
- Sports & Recreation