BROOMFIELD - James O. Ellis Jr. has been appointed chairman of the board of Broomfield-based telecom Level 3 Communications Inc., replacing Walter Scott Jr., who last year announced his retirement.

Ellis, a member of Level 3's board since 2005, was appointed Thursday during a board meeting.

"Jim brings more than 40 years of experience in managing and leading complex, technology-focused organizations to this appointment," said Jeff Storey, president and chief executive at Level 3 (NYSE: LVLT). "I'm excited to work with Jim in his role as chairman and continue to grow the business."

Ellis also serves as chairman of the board's Classified Business and Security Committee and is a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee. Since November 2013, he has served as an Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

From May 2005 until May 2012, Ellis was the president and chief executive of the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations. Additionally, Ellis is a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin Corp. and Dominion Resources Inc. He served on the board of directors of Inmarsat PLC until March 2014.

Ellis is former commander of the United States Strategic Command at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, where he had global responsibility for strategic warning systems, integrated missile defense, space operations and other critical national defense functions.

Prior to that, he served as commander in chief of U.S. naval forces in Europe and as commander in chief of Allied forces in southern Europe. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and holds master's degrees in aerospace engineering and aeronautical systems from the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of West Florida, respectively. He retired with the rank of Admiral from the U.S. Navy after 35 years of service.