He takes over from Shelly Lazarus, who has led the world's third-largest agency group for the past 11 years. She will remain as the chairman after the changeover at the beginning of next year.
Young's new role puts him in command of an 11,000-strong workforce spread across 120 countries.
His promotion follows what is widely regarded as his outstanding leadership of O&M in the Far East.
During his 13 years in charge, he is credited with reinvigorating a regional network, run largely by Britons and Americans, with indigenous talent and with building O&M's presence in what were previously deemed impenetrable markets, such as China and Japan.
His success in Asia has been seen as all the more remarkable given his hasty dispatch to Hong Kong in 1995 when his then boss gave him 24 hours to accept the job.
Industry sources say that one of Young's biggest challenges will be to bring fresh momentum to the network's flagship New York office, which has been experiencing a fallow new-business period.
Young, 53, is thought to have been selected for the job because of the breadth of his experience. During his 25 years at O&M, he has worked in Europe and has an extensive understanding of the direct and digital disciplines.
"Miles can be irascible and is totally intolerant of stupidity," an Ogilvy insider said. "He is the absolute personification of David Ogilvy's determination to hire 'gentlemen with brains'," he added.
Young's successor as the chairman of O&M Asia-Pacific will be Tim Isaac, currently the head of the network's South-East Asia region.