Sportal.co.nz 04.Aug.2012Getty Images
The IRB announced that the Frenchman will take the helm as part of the process building towards Rugby World Cup 2015.
After seven years as the head of IRB referees, O'Brien will now oversee the development of Sevens match officials ahead of the sport's Olympic debut in 2016.
The 46-year-old Jutge refereed 35 Tests between 1996 and 2007 before retiring with a knee injury and later becoming referee manager for the French Rugby Federation.
"This is a key appointment for the IRB in what is a hugely important area of the game and Joel brings with him vast experience, great knowledge and expertise as well as enormous respect within the international Rugby family. This is an excellent opportunity," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset