The `Taxi Driver` actor - who has attended the festival a total of eight times and presidedover the jury twice - was chosen by Cannes bosses because of his close ties to the Tribeca Film Festival, which he co-founded and this year celebrates its 10th anniversary
He said: "As co-founder of the Tribeca Film Festival and the Doha Tribeca Film Festival, I have an increased appreciation for the jury who serve, undertaking an important role in choosing films that are represented in the world of film at its highest level.
"These types of festivals help connect the international film community and have a lasting cultural impact."
The 67-year-old actor follows in the footsteps of Tim Burton, who presidedover the prestigious jury in 2010 which saw Thai film `Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives` pick up the Palme d`Or prize for best film.
Other big names include Quentin Tarantino and Sean Penn, and De Nirowill be the fifth American in the last decade to take on the role.
The 64th Cannes Film Festival takes place from May 11-22, 2011.
De Niro can currently be seen in cinemas in comedy movie `Little Fockers` with Ben Stiller and Jessica Alba.