By Mike DeNardo

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Mayor Michael Nutter has named a new Fire Commissioner to replace Lloyd Ayers, who is retiring after 40 years in the department.

Deputy Commissioner Derrick Sawyer, 54, has been named as Philadelphia’s next Fire Commissioner, succeeding Lloyd Ayers.

“Derrick Sawyer? I’ve watched him. 29 years – 40? Right. I’ve watched him. Since he’s come in the door. And he’s done great. He’s listened. He’s learned. He’s taken all of the training opportunities,” Ayers said.

Sawyer says he’s grown during his 29 years in the department.

“As a Battalion Chief, I learned about the importance of leading leaders. As a Deputy Chief, I learned about the importance of developing leaders,” Sawyer said.

Mayor Nutter also announced the promotion of Diane Schweizer as the department’s first female Deputy Commissioner.

“It’s not whether you’re a male or a female out there. It’s about doing the job and getting the job done,” Schweizer said.

Nutter in making the announcement credited Ayers for bringing civilian fire deaths down to 24 last year, the lowest total ever.

Sawyer begins his job as Commissioner June 14.

Watch & Listen LIVE