BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts higher education system has a new leader.

The state Board of Higher Education voted unanimously on Wednesday to name Carlos Santiago as commissioner. He succeeds Richard Freeland, who is stepping down after six years in the post.

Santiago is currently senior deputy commissioner for academic affairs in the state Department of Higher Education. His previous experience includes serving as chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and as provost at the University at Albany in New York.

Massachusetts Secretary of Education James Peyser applauded Santiago's record of strengthening rates of on-time college completion.

The state's higher education system consists of 15 community colleges, nine state universities and the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.

UMass trustees recently named former U.S. Rep. Martin Meehan as president of the system.