In a closely fought election against Staniforth MD Rob Brown, Sykes polled 56% of members' votes to claim the title.
She will take up her position in January 2011 as president elect alongside the incoming president Paul Mylrea.
Sykes was treasurer for the CIPR during 2010.
Mylrea said: 'Sally has worked tirelessly as treasurer (during a difficult year) and I look forward to our working closely together as we continue to support our members. I would also like to pay tribute to Rob, who has been a key part of our social media work.'
The CIPR has also announced Jane Cumming, Sarah Hall, Stephen Waddington, Liam Fitzpatrick, Natasha Tobin, Pamela Mounter and Stuart Ross as council members for the coming year.
NHS Lothian director of comms, Jenifer Stirton, will succeed Sykes as treasurer for 2011.