Poynton will oversee a judging panel to select finalists for the annual Aerial Awards in October.
The panel will draw up a shortlist of ads to be voted on by an audience of 500 creatives on the awards night.
Poynton joined O&M last June, having started his career in New Zealand in 1987. Later, he became the creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi in Australia, having worked at M&C Saatchi in London for six years.
Andrew Ingram, the director of the Aerials Foundation, said: "We are pleased to have Malcolm as this year's Aerials chairman because he is a force for change in the industry. The Aerials can't physically get much bigger, but to achieve the foundation's ambitions of 'encouraging radio advertising to be proud of', they will have to get cleverer. Malcolm understands this and he takes radio seriously."
Poynton said his upbringing in New Zealand had stimulated his interest in the medium: "Growing up in rural New Zealand, radio was part of everyday life. Not only were lessons magically delivered over the airwaves, but so too were the All Blacks' numerous lessons in rugby."