He takes up the role on 1 February 2018.
Lynton led Sony Entertainment held from 2012 to 2017, and before that served as chairman and chief exec of Sony Pictures Entertainment from 2002 to 2012.
He is currently chairman of Snapchat,having joined the company in 2017, and is also a non-executive director on the board of Ares Management. Over the course of his career, Lynton has held senior leadership roles at Penguin Group, The Walt Disney Company and Time Warner.
Pearson chairman Sidney Taurel said: "Pearson is going to be the winner in digital education. That requires great people as well as great products. The Pearson board and leadership already has strong digital talent and expertise, and Michael's appointment augments that perfectly. His experience and perspective will further strengthen Pearson and drive our transformation to be a more focused, simpler digital learning company."
Lynton said: "Education is the next frontier in the digital revolution and Pearson is uniquely well placed to lead the way. I'm impressed by the major investment in the products of the future and the creation of a single, global learning platform. Most importantly, Pearson has strong leadership and a clear vision - I'm excited to be joining the team."