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Don Miller Retiring From Piedmont Office Realty Trust

The current headquarters building for Piedmont Office Realty Trust in Central Perimeter

The tenure of Piedmont Office Realty Trust's longtime CEO is coming to an end.

Officials with the Atlanta-based office REIT announced Tuesday that CEO Don Miller plans to retire from the company on June 30. In his place, President Brent Smith will take the helm.

“The entire Piedmont team has worked together diligently over the last several years to hone our competitive strategy, narrow our markets, and improve our portfolio of properties. During this time, Brent has provided valuable insight and leadership to the organization and been instrumental in the execution of each of the major transactions that have advanced this strategy,” Miller wrote in a release.

The transition plan was approved by Piedmont's board of directors.

Miller led Piedmont through its transition into an independent publicly traded REIT in 2007 after it transitioned from being a fund held by Peachtree Corners-based Wells Real Estate. It is one of four former Wells funds that have since become their own entities, including Columbia Property Trust, CatchMark Timber Trust and Signature Office REIT, which itself was acquired by Griffin Capital Corp. in 2015.

“We are very appreciative of Don’s service over the last twelve years; leading Piedmont through its transformation to a publicly-traded Company with a high quality portfolio focused upon select markets where Piedmont now has a dominant presence,” Piedmont Board of Directors Chairman Frank McDowell wrote in a release.

Smith joined Piedmont in 2012 as senior vice president with a focus on acquisition and disposition of real estate for the firm. He rose through the ranks: He was named the company's chief investment officer in 2016 and president in 2018.

Smith, 43, is the latest in a new generation of commercial real estate leaders taking key positions with major firms. At the start of the year, Colin Connolly, who also is in his 40s, ascended to the CEO role at Cousins Properties, taking over for longtime chief Larry Gellerstedt.

In January 2018, Piedmont sold off 14 of its assets, 13 of them to Bridge Investment Group, for more than $400M, in a move that helped it exit some markets. That portfolio included Suwanee Gateway One, a 143K SF low-rise office building in a northern suburb of Metro Atlanta.