Denise Lewis, Chair of UK Sport Baroness Campbell and Director of BBC Sport Barbara Slater will also work together to decide the 2012 shortlist, alongside other experts and representatives from the BBC and the newspaper industry.
Sue Barker, Gary Lineker and Clare Balding will host this year's competition, to be broadcast live from the ExCeL in London on Sunday, December 16 on BBC One.
A crowd of over 15,000 is expected for the ceremony, its biggest event of its 59-year history.
This year's shortlist will prove to be one of the most hotly contested ever, with many British sports stars achieving huge success in 2012.
Jessica Ennis, Mo Farah, Ben Ainslie, Sir Chris Hoy and Ellie Simmonds are just some of the stars who shone at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics, while the likes of Andy Murray, Bradley Wiggins and Rory McIlroy are also among potential winners.
The shortlist has been extended from 10 to 12 to recognise the successful year for British sport.
Barbara Slater, director of BBC Sport, said: "This year's Sports Personality of the Year will be a celebration of what has been a truly unique year for sport in the UK. We are incredibly proud to be hosting the sporting grand finale for such a remarkable year."
If the panel do not reach a consensus view with the final shortlist, they will vote on the remaining athletes. If a tied vote arises, the chair's decision will be final.
Viewers will then vote for their overall winner on the night of the ceremony.