Boise, Idaho-based American Ecology Corp. has announced that James R. Baumgardner, currently the firm’s president and COO, will become the company’s CEO on Jan. 1, 2010.

Stephen Romano, the current CEO of American Ecology, will continue to serve as chairman of the company’s Board of Directors after Jan. 1.

“Our Board of Directors has great confidence in Jim's ability to lead the Company in its next stage of growth,” said Romano in a press release. “Jim is an exceptional leader with extensive business management experience, and detailed knowledge of our Company and our industry.”

Baumgardner, 46, rejoined American Ecology in January 2009 as president and COO. He served as the firm’s senior vice president and chief financial officer from 1999 to 2006.