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Cousins Properties CEO Larry Gellerstedt To Step Down

Atlanta Office

With the coming new year, Atlanta-based Cousins Properties will be getting new blood in the CEO's suite.

Cousins Properties CEO Colin Connolly

The firm announced that Colin Connolly will ascend to the CEO position when 2019 begins, replacing Larry Gellerstedt, who has led the organization since 2009. Gellerstedt will become Cousins' executive chairman, the company announced.

“Colin's promotion is part of a deliberate and planned succession effort that will allow Cousins Properties to benefit from his ideas, energy and strategic leadership skills, while continuing its evolution into a larger, highly focused company,” Gellerstedt said in a statement.

Connolly joined Cousins in 2011 and steadily moved up the ranks to president last July. He said he intends to continue the firm's strategy of investing in urban office in high-growth, Sun Belt markets, especially as people and talent from the Northeast continue to move to the Southeast and the West Coast for higher quality of life and lower cost of business.

“We think that will continue to provide good tailwind for Cousins,” Connolly said.

In Atlanta, Cousins is underway with a second office building at Avalon, in a joint venture with Hines, in the affluent northern suburb of Alpharetta. The company is still deliberating on whether to begin construction on a new office building at Eighth and West Peachtree streets in Midtown.

Its development pipeline includes projects in Tempe, Arizona, Tampa, Florida, and Austin and Uptown Dallas in Texas.

“The Sun Belt has always done very well from a demand perspective. But I think the change that is really been hugely positive for Cousins Properties is the urbanization that has taken place in a market like Atlanta,” Connolly said. “That's created barriers to entry that previously didn't exist.”