ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Sandia National Laboratories has chosen a former lab executive as its next director.

James Peery’s appointment was announced Monday. He will succeed Stephen Younger, who will retire at the end of the year.

Peery will become the 16th director to oversee Sandia in its 70-year history. He currently serves as associate lab director of national security sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.

Peery says the opportunity to lead the nation’s largest laboratory and the institution where he started his career will be an honor.

Peery was selected following a national search that included a review of more than 80 candidates. Officials say he was chosen because of his knowledge of Sandia, nuclear weapons and cybersecurity as well as his leadership experience within the national laboratory system.

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