Poles was a finalist for three of the NFL's four general manager openings this month. In addition to the Bears, he had a second interview with the New York Giants, who ultimately hired Buffalo Bills executive Joe Schoen. Poles also canceled further interviews with the Minnesota Vikings after deciding to take the Bears job.
Poles got to immediate work Tuesday.
He interviewed Jim Caldwell for team's current head coach vacancy. And Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, another former head coach, and Indianapolis Colts defensive coordinator Matt Eberflus are scheduled to travel to Chicago for second interviews with Poles on Wednesday, sources told ESPN's Ed Werder.
Poles was in his first season as the Chiefs' executive director of player personnel and his 13th with the franchise. As part of his latest job responsibilities, he oversaw college scouting, helped Kansas City's pro personnel department, prepared for free agency and assisted GM Brett Veach with the NFL draft.
"We are thrilled to be able to add someone of Ryan's background and football expertise to our organization," Bears chairman George H. McCaskey said in a statement. "His accomplishments with the Chiefs speak for themselves and amplified the team's standing as one of the premier franchises in professional sports. We are confident that under his leadership, we will reach our goal of bringing a Super Bowl championship to Chicago."
The decision came 15 days after McCaskey fired former general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy after a 6-11 season. At the time, McCaskey said he hoped to hire a new general manager first and then incorporate the new GM into the final discussions for a new coach. McCaskey revealed that he had tapped longtime NFL executive and Pro Football Hall of Fame member Bill Polian to help guide his search.
Poles, 36, will report directly to McCaskey. Previously, Bears general managers have reported to team president Ted Phillips.
Poles was an offensive tackle at Boston College, and the Bears signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2008, although he didn't make the roster.
"The Chicago Bears are one of the flagship franchises in the National Football League and are recognized as one of the most prestigious clubs in all of sports," Poles said in a statement. "It's an honor for me to join such a well-regarded organization. Together with my family, I'm looking forward to hitting the ground running to help get this organization, its fanbase and the city what they deserve: a winning team and a Super Bowl trophy."
The Bears interviewed at least 13 candidates for the general manager job, including Schoen and Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who is the favorite for the Vikings' open job. They have reported nine interviews for the head-coaching job, including Caldwell and Doug Pederson.
Pace spent seven seasons with the Bears, hiring two coaches and trading up to draft two quarterbacks, including Justin Fields last year, during his tenure. His teams made two playoff appearances but did not win a postseason game. The Bears last won a playoff game in 2010 and are 1-3 in the postseason since appearing in Super Bowl XLI after the 2007 season.
The Bears do not have a first-round pick in this year's draft because they sent that selection to the Giants in the Fields' trade.