Former Denver Mayor Guillermo "Bill" Vidal has been elected new president and CEO of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the board of directors announced today.

Vidal will take office Jan. 1, 2012, succeeding James Mejia, who has served as interim president and CEO since August 2011, when Jeffrey Campos resigned from that post.

"By naming Bill Vidal as the next CEO, the chamber is poised to reach the next level in creating business for our members, affecting legislation that impacts our businesses and nurturing the business environment for our growing number of Latino entrepreneurs," Debbie Trujillo, Hispanic chamber chair of the board of directors, said in a statement.

Born in Camaguey, Cuba, Vidal became Denver's first foreign-born mayor in January when John Hickenlooper became governor. Prior to that, Vidal was deputy mayor and manager of public works.

Vidal has a degree in civil engineering from the University of Colorado and headed the Colorado Department of Transportation under former Gov. Roy Romer. Some of Vidal's best-known accomplishments include the adoption of the 20-year Regional Transportation and Clean Water Plan and the $40 million investment of the Denver Regional Council of Governments' funds into the Central Platte Valley Rail spur and Denver Union Station.

"Bill Vidal has a regional perspective, deep knowledge in public-private partnerships, and will be a unifying voice for the Latino community," said Mejia, who credits the chamber staff for positive growth this year. "We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber to lead our business community for the next stage of the Chamber."