The veteran Brendon McCullum has replaced batsman Ross Taylor as Test, ODI and T20I skipper ahead of New Zealand's tour of South Africa.
Taylor declined an offer to retain the Test captaincy in a split-leadership scenario designed by coach Mike Hesson - and has also excluded himself from selection for all three formats for the remainder of the year.
He is, however, expected to return for the home series against England in 2013. McCullum, meanwhile, will become the country's 28th Test captain come the series opener at Newlands in Cape Town on 2 January.
Taylor said in a statement: "Obviously, the news and the timing was distressing. It has been a very challenging and pressured time and I don't believe I can give 100 percent to the game at this time.
"I am determined to contribute to the Black Caps team in the future and help whoever is in charge to win."
The Black Caps have endured a poor run of results this year, losing Test series to South Africa, the West Indies and India before drawing with Sri Lanka. They have also fallen to ninth in the ODI rankings, below minnows Bangladesh.
October's performance review, after the Kiwis failed to advance to the semi-finals of the World Twenty20, later saw Hesson recommend splitting the captaincy.
"Mike proposed a split captaincy that was endorsed by me and agreed by the board. The original recommendation was for Ross to be retained as Test captain and Brendon to be short-form captain. We regret that Ross has declined the opportunity, therefore Brendon has been appointed as Black Caps captain for all three forms of the game," said New Zealand Cricket CEO David White.
"I met with Ross for about three hours and we considered a number of different options. One of them was for him to go to South Africa and even just play the Test matches if he wanted to do that. But he thought about it long and hard and he said that he would like a break and to spend time with his family and we've agreed with that and we respect that. It's not ideal and we would be a stronger team with Ross in it."
New Zealand have recalled wicketkeeper-batsman BJ Watling and batsmen Dean Brownlie and Peter Fulton to their squad for the two-Test affair. The trio have replaced leg-spinner Todd Astle, opener Rob Nicol and wicketkeeper-batsman Kruger van Wyk, who were all part of the squad that drew with Sri Lanka recently. Uncapped left-arm spinner Bruce Martin has also been included in the 15-man squad.
The tour gets underway with the first of three T20Is in Durban on 21 December. The two Tests will follow in early January - and later three ODIs. The ODI squad will be named at a later date.