Kale will help the tea company expand its presence in the 40 countries it currently trades in and enter new territories including Africa, the Middle East, and the Commonwealth of Independent States, which includes Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Moldova.
Typhoo said the new role would be key in boosting trade overseas and making the brand truly international after a difficult few years.
Kale, who speaks seven languages, joins from Tata Group, which owns both Tata Tea and UK-based Tetley. He is the first major appointment made by Keith Packer, who was promoted from sales director to chief executive in March.
"Developing our international business is an important part of our plans to grow the Typhoo business both at home and abroad," said Packer, who was promoted after three years as sales director.
"Rahul's experience in developing strategic growth opportunities across a number of markets and business sectors will help us realise the growth potential that exists for our brands overseas."
He will be based in Typhoo's London office, but will spend at least 10 days a month abroad.
At Tata he headed the tea business in Moscow and was also responsible for managing bulk tea exports to the CIS.
Prior to his time at Tata, Kale worked in fmcg,
telecommunications and commodities for 15 years, including a stint with speciality London tea company Newy Teas, where he was sales director. His role there was to build partnerships across various international markets such as Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Poland and Hungary.
Kale graduated from Henley Management College with an MBA in strategy and marketing.
Packer recently said Typhoo, which made a loss of £10m in the year to March 2008, would break even within 18 months.
Typhoo was developing a "new proposition" for the brand, which would target its core market of 45 to 60-year-old women, he said.