Republican State Sen. Robert C. Wonderling has been named the president and chief executive officer of the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce.

Wonderling will replace former Gov. Mark S. Schweiker, who announced in January that he would leave at the end of June to head a unit handling businesses' back-office operations for privately held PRWT Services Inc.

Wonderling, 47, who has been in the state Senate since 2003, has represented District 24, which comprises parts of Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery and Northampton Counties.

At a news conference at chamber headquarters this morning, Wonderling said he would begin his new job Aug. 1.

"In a word, I am excited; in a phrase, I plan to hit the ground running," said Wonderling, who lives in Schwenksville, Montgomery County.

Chamber board chairman David L. Cohen announced the appointment, saying Wonderling's long experience with regional issues, particularly transportation, would enhance his work for the organization.

"Rob has an outstanding background that is a perfect match for this position," Cohen said. "He is passionate about regional economic development, especially on the importance of transportation and infrastructure."

Cohen said that about 150 candidates had been considered for the job and that the chamber had signed a three-year contract with Wonderling.

Mayor Nutter said: "I have worked with Rob in the past and developed a good, strong working relationship that will only continue to grow."

Wonderling's second Senate term would have expired next year. Wonderling said he had not decided whether to run for reelection by the time he was contacted by a search firm looking for a candidate for the chamber job.

His Senate work includes membership on the Community, Economic & Recreational Development Committee and Public Health and Welfare Committees, and he is chairman of the Transportation Committee.

Wonderling was deputy secretary of transportation in the Ridge administration.

Before his election to the Senate in 2002, Wonderling worked for Bentley Systems Inc., a privately held software firm based in Exton. After his election, he continued to work for Bentley part time.

The private, nonprofit Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce has 5,000 members and represents 11 counties in three states: Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, and Philadelphia in Pennsylvania; Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Mercer, and Salem in New Jersey; and New Castle in Delaware.

Contact staff writer Chris Mondics at 215-854-5957 or cmondics@phillynews.com.