Susan Bass-Levin, a top executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and former mayor of Cherry Hill, will take over as the head of the Cooper Foundation, the fund-raising arm that supports Cooper University Hospital in Camden.

Bass-Levin will become the foundation's president and chief executive officer in late January after leaving the Port Authority, the hospital said yesterday.

A former cabinet member in the McGreevey, Codey, and Corzine administrations, she will take over a fund-raising entity that brought in $5.7 million, including $3 million from government contributions, in 2007, the last year for which public records are available.

Through the foundation, Bass-Levin will also oversee Cooper's redevelopment and revitalization efforts in Camden, according to the hospital.

"Susan has an impressive career serving the public and I am looking forward to working with her on a deeper engagement into our philanthropic efforts at Cooper," Edward D. Viner, chairman of the Cooper Foundation, said in a news release.

He cited Bass-Levin's experience in business and project management, as well as her contacts in South Jersey and throughout the state, as key qualities she will bring to the job.

Bass-Levin is a longtime public figure in South Jersey. She was Cherry Hill's mayor from 1988 through 2002 before joining Gov. Jim McGreevey's administration as community affairs commissioner. She served in that position under Gov. Richard J. Codey and Gov. Corzine as well. Corzine appointed her deputy executive director of the Port Authority in 2007.

Bass-Levin will leave that post, which pays $260,806, when Corzine's term expires, Jan. 19, according to the hospital.

Her new salary is not publicly available.

The foundation is reopening its president's position to hire Bass-Levin. No one has held the post for more than seven years.

Contact staff writer Jonathan Tamari at 609-989-9016 or jtamari@phillynews.com.