Wood, who stepped down as RFL Chief Executive last week, will replace David Collier when his contract runs out in May.
Speaking on the appointment, Wood said: "I feel honoured and humbled to be asked to serve the RLIF as CEO for the next phase of its development.
"International rugby league is a wonderful and essential aspect of our sport as the images, testimonials and emotions of the recent World Cups have once again demonstrated.
"I believe these are exciting times as more and more people recognise the role of international rugby league has in developing the whole sport.
"New countries and investors are attracted to our sport and I look forward to working with all parties, clubs and other key stakeholders to ensure that we give players, supporters and commercial and broadcast partners the most compelling international calendar that we possibly can."
Wood helped oversee the success of the 2013 Rugby League World Cup in England and will again look to lead another successful campaign when the tournament comes around on these shores again in 2021.
"We are delighted to have reached an agreement with Nigel to take over as the executive lead for the RLIF at this time," said RLIF deputy chairman John Grant.
"Nigel is a 10-year CEO with a proven track record as a rugby league administrator of the highest standard, is respected on both sides of the world, has an intimate understanding of the complex relationship between domestic and international rugby league, and provides a fast start in the role at a time when capitalising on the momentum created by the 2017 World Cups is critical."