McKenzie has today named his side for the opening tour fixture against England at Twickenham, with the headline news surrounding Ben Mowen's promotion to skipper.
Mowen replaces second row James Horwill who has been in the job since August 2011 but has struggled with injury for much of that time.
Horwill missed the entire calendar year in 2012 and, although he returned to lead the Wallabies in their three-Test summer series with the Lions, hasn't quite hit top form following his comeback.
McKenzie now wants his former leader at the Reds to concentrate on getting back to his best and has therefore opted to hand Brumbies No8 Mowen the honour of leading his country in London.
Mowen captained his club side to the Super XV Final this season as the Brumbies came agonizingly close to a first title since 2004 and he has long been tipped as a future national captain despite only making his debut against Warren Gatland's Lions in June.
He led the Wallabies in their 14-13 win over Argentina in Perth in September and would appear to be the front runner to fill the role against Italy, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although McKenzie insists no decision has been made past Saturday's trip to Twickenham.
"There's no doubting James is a world-class leader but it's important he is putting his own personal performance first and playing to the level we know he is capable of on a weekly basis," said McKenzie, who has made controversial playmaker Quade Cooper vice captain.
"By his own lofty standards, James would admit he hasn't been at peak form. So, we've made the decision to this week remove the added pressures and responsibilities of being a captain so that he can focus entirely on bringing his 'A' game.
"Decisions like these are never easy, but sometimes you need to make hard choices for the long-term benefit of the individual. A strong individual performance will be the best contribution he can make to this game.
"Ben now gets another opportunity to lead his country, while we're recognising Quade for the ongoing decision-making role he plays on the field and the positive involvements he continues to make in contributing to the culture of the team off the field.
"However, like we do every week, we'll re-assess all selection decisions for next week's game against Italy after we focus on taking care of business against England on Saturday night."
As well as the captaincy switch, McKenzie makes three personnel changes and one positional switch to the team that were narrowly beaten by the All Blacks a fortnight ago.
Sitaleki Timani partners Horwill at lock after Rob Simmons was ruled out having aggravated a knee injury in training; Mowen moves to No8 from the blindside flank as Scott Fardy returns in place of Ben McCalman; and Nick Cummins - a try scorer at Twickenham last time out - comes in for Peter Betham on the left wing.
Fardy comes back into the starting line-up after missing Australia's third Bledisloe Cup Test against New Zealand with an eye injury, while Cummins has recovered from a fractured hand.
Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua retains his place in the starting line up despite Christian Leali'ifano's recovery from an ankle injury.
"We're in a better position this week that we've been able to make more selection decisions based on performance as opposed to those forced by injury," added McKenzie.
"The perfect example of that is Matt's inclusion in the centres ahead of another of our best performing players before his injury in Christian.
"I often say that players drive their own selection and Matt's performance against the All Blacks demanded he wear the number 12 jersey again."
Australia (v England, Saturday, 2.30pm)
15. Israel Folau (NSW Waratahs)
14. Adam Ashley-Cooper (NSW Waratahs)
13. Tevita Kuridrani (ACT Brumbies)
12. Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
11. Nick Cummins (Western Force)
10. Quade Cooper (vc - Queensland Reds)
9. Will Genia (Queensland Reds)
1. James Slipper (Queensland Reds)
2. Stephen Moore (ACT Brumbies)
3. Ben Alexander (ACT Brumbies)
4. Sitaleki Timani (NSW Waratahs)
5. James Horwill (Queensland Reds)
6. Scott Fardy (ACT Brumbies)
7. Michael Hooper (NSW Waratahs)
8. Ben Mowen (c - ACT Brumbies)
16. Saia Fainga'a (Queensland Reds)
17. Benn Robinson (NSW Waratahs)
18. Sekope Kepu (NSW Waratahs)
19. Kane Douglas (NSW Waratahs)
20. Ben McCalman (Western Force)
21. Nic White (ACT Brumbies)
22. Christian Leali'ifano (ACT Brumbies)
23. Bernard Foley (NSW Waratahs)