Cobbold's appointment follows the departure of former chief executive James Hussey, who quit in August in response to the firm's paper production problems at its Overton Mill.
Cobbold said: "De La Rue has a long established reputation as a global leader in an industry with unique characteristics. I look forward, with the rest of the Board, to demonstrating De La Rue's fundamental value by building on its core strengths as an independent company and growing value for its shareholders. I look forward to working with the experienced team at De La Rue to strengthen the business and deliver on its potential as the industry leader."
Following Cobbold's appointment, Nicholas Brookes will return to the role of non-executive chairman following an interim spell as executive chairman and group finance director Colin Child will no longer hold the additional role of chief operating officer.
Brookes said: "We are delighted that Tim will be joining De La Rue as chief executive on 1 January. There is no doubt about the regard in which Tim is held. His wealth of experience, including of international business at the most senior level, will be invaluable to De La Rue both in the short term as we work to resolve current uncertainties and in the longer term as we continue to build our global brand and international customer base."