Dell replaces Kevin Rollins, who has served as chief executive since July 2004.
"The board believes that Michael's vision and leadership are critical to building Dell's leadership in the technology industry for the long term," said Samuel Nunn, presiding director of Dell's board.
"There is no better person in the world to run Dell at this time than the man who created the direct model and who has built this company over the past 23 years."
Dell is currently undergoing a reorganisation in an attempt to move away from low-end systems that offer slim product margins.
By contrast, HP has successfully shifted its focus to developing high-end systems and innovative designs that offer high profit margins and clear differentiators.
Dell also has been slow to embrace new technology trends. The company was the last major computer maker to embrace AMD processors, for example.
Michael Dell founded the business as a student in 1984. Dell rose to the top computer maker spot by using an innovative supply chain strategy.
New computers are only constructed after an order has been placed, allowing the firm to minimise supply inventory and yield major cost savings.
The Dell brand became synonymous with low cost industry standard systems during the most recent downturn in the IT sector.
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