Hansen will leave his post after the 2004 RBS Six Nations Championship and the panel, which consists of WRU Chairman David Pickering, WRU Chief Executive David Moffett, WRU Group General Manager Steve Lewis, Chairman of the WRU Game Policy Committee David Rees and WRU Director of Rugby Terry Cobner, hope to complete the new appointment before the start of the Six Nations tournament.
"We will begin our search in earnest for the best man for the job immediately," said Lewis.
"The ultimate criteria is simple - we want to secure the best man possible to coach the Wales national side.
"The next stage is to officially advertise the job and then the interview process can begin. We are all, as I'm sure the Welsh public are, eager to bring this process to a conclusion and learn who the next man to coach our country will be. We hope to make that announcement as soon as possible.
"He will be taking charge of the biggest job in our national game and will be in a position to reap the benefits from the newly formed regional structure. He will have the weight and the expectations of a nation behind him and the full support of the WRU to take Wales forward as a rugby nation and build on our recent progress."
The selection panel was appointed at last night's WRU committee meeting.