Handley was most recently president of global food and beverage and Asia Pacific Latin America. He joined the company in 2003 as a senior vice president of strategic planning.
Ecolab offers cleaning, sanitation, pest elimination and maintenance products. In December, it completed its $5.6 billion purchase of Nalco Holding Co., which makes chemicals used in water treatment and pollution control, expanding Ecolab's business beyond its legacy of manufacturing commercial-grade detergents and disinfectants.
"The expanded scope and scale of our company following our merger with Nalco last year warrants additional leadership support," Douglas M. Baker Jr., chairman and chief executive, said. "Tom's business experience, knowledge of our company, focus on talent development and tremendous strategic abilities will provide me with terrific support and strengthen an already strong leadership team."
In July, Ecolab said its second-quarter earnings rose 47% as the company booked record sales following the Nalco acquisition.