The 36-year-old has served an apprenticeship under one of the best coaches in the business, Alastair Clarkson, and will now try to pull Carlton out of the mire.
Carlton CEO Steven Trigg says Bolton is the ideal man to turn the club around.
“I’m delighted to welcome Brendon to our club and to our team. It is our vision that Brendon will be a long-term coach of our football club as we build toward sustained success,” he said.
“He will be afforded the time and the resources to take Carlton back to where we all want it to be and we will support him every step of the way.
“What set Brendon apart was far more than just his resume and experience, which is impressive in itself.
“It was his proven ability to develop and educate that convinced our selection panel that he is the right person for Carlton.
“He is a proven performer, having come from an elite environment where the ultimate success has been achieved.”
Hawthorn have confirmed Bolton will leave the club at the end of the week.