Shurmur spent the past two seasons as offensive coordinator for a Rams team that went 7-9 and fell one win short of making the playoffs after a 1-15 season in 2009.
"I came away from our interview very impressed with him as a person, his extensive knowledge of the game and his track record of success as an assistant," Browns president Mike Holmgren said in a statement.
"Most importantly, I feel as though he possesses the necessary qualities which make him the right man to lead our football team."
During his time with St. Louis, Shurmur helped shape Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, who was named a finalist for the NFL's rookie of the year award last week after a record-setting season where he helped turn around one of the worst teams.
Prior to his stint with the Rams, Shurmur spent 10 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, including several years as the team's quarterbacks coach where he helped Donovan McNabb to three Pro Bowl selections.
Shurmur, who will have his work cut out for him in his new role, said he is impressed with the direction in which the team is going and is eager to get started.
"I am looking forward to this challenge and can't wait to get started in helping to build the Browns back to one of the elite teams in the NFL," he said in a statement.
(Reporting by Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina. Editing by Frank Pingue)