Gustavo Poyet said it was time for Sunderland to move on from the troubled tenure of former manager Paolo Di Canio after being appointed as the Italian's successor on Tuesday.
Poyet, 45, has been placed in charge of the Premier League strugglers on a two-year contract with an initial task of steering the club out of the relegation zone.
Di Canio was sacked last month, with Kevin Ball appointed interim first-team coach, and Poyet arrives to find the club six points adrift of safety with only one point from their first seven games.
Poyet's only previous managerial role was a four-year spell at second-tier Brighton and Hove Albion.
Although Di Canio similarly had no top-flight coaching experience when he was appointed in March, Poyet rejected comparisons between the two men.
"The time of Paolo has come to an end and it is time to move forward," said Poyet, who was presented to the media on Tuesday afternoon.
"We are all different. You cannot compare me to anyone. I am not better or worse, I am different. I don't want to be compared to anyone, even the best. It is not right."
Sunderland showed signs of improvement under Ball's stewardship in their recent defeats by Liverpool and Manchester United, and Poyet said the popular former player still had a role to play at the club.
"He doesn't know yet how important he is going to be for me," said the Uruguayan.
"It is clear you need someone with the qualities Kevin has, so I am going to count on him a lot."
Poyet acknowledged that he faced a "huge challenge" but said he was "excited" about starting work and "grateful for the opportunity to manage in the Premier League".
And despite Sunderland's pressing need for points, he said he would not be deterred from introducing his preferred brand of expansive, attacking football.
"I have a reputation for playing a particular style of football and we will care about the ball," he said.
"We need to adapt it slowly because the aim will be to get three points. But if we are all involved and convinced, I think the fans will be very proud of our new way of playing football."
Sunderland's Texan owner Ellis Short said he was convinced he had found the right man for the job.
"We analysed a wide range of candidates and believe that Gus's track record, experience, commitment and passion make him the right man to take us forward," he said. "We welcome him to Sunderland."
Poyet becomes Sunderland's sixth permanent head coach in less than five years and he will also be the first Uruguayan to manage a team in the Premier League.
He first came to England as a player in 1997, joining Chelsea from Real Zaragoza and winning the FA Cup, the now defunct UEFA Cup Winners' Cup, and the UEFA Super Cup, before spending three years at Tottenham Hotspur.
A goalscoring midfielder, he also played for Uruguay 26 times and was a member of the team that triumphed at the 1995 Copa America.
His managerial experience is limited to his time at Brighton but during that spell he led the south coast club to promotion from third-tier League One in 2011 before guiding them to the Championship play-offs last season.
However, his time at the Amex Stadium ended on a sour note. He was suspended by the club following their play-off semi-final defeat by Crystal Palace and was informed of his dismissal during a live television appearance on the BBC.
He has also worked as a coach at Swindon Town, Leeds United and Spurs.
Poyet will be joined at the Stadium of Light by his former Brighton colleagues Mauricio Taricco and Charlie Oatway, and will work in conjunction with Sunderland director of football Roberto De Fanti.
His first game in charge will be a league match at Swansea City on October 19, followed by a first home game against derby rivals Newcastle United on October 27.