Cousins Properties Inc. revealed that its Board of Directors has named Colin Connolly Chief Executive Officer, effective January 1, 2019. Larry Gellerstedt, the company’s current Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, will transition to Executive Chairman.
“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,” said Gellerstedt. “We have a rock-solid team that has worked closely together for more than seven years and has grown this company to more than $5 billion in total market capitalization.”
“Colin has been integral in the execution of our strategy, and he understands our legacy in the communities we serve. I have never been more confident about the prospects for the Company and the Board and I believe Colin is uniquely qualified to lead Cousins Properties into the future.”
Connolly, 42, joined Cousins Properties in 2011 as Senior Vice President focused on acquisitions and dispositions. He became Senior Vice President and Chief Investment Officer in May 2013, Executive Vice President and Chief Investment Officer in December 2015 and Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in July 2016. Last July, Mr. Connolly was named President of the Company, a title he will retain in addition to his role as Chief Executive Officer.
Connolly attended Washington & Lee University, earning a Bachelor of Science in business administration and accounting. He later earned a Master of Business Administration at The University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business.
“Growing up in Atlanta, I have a deep appreciation for Cousins Properties and its importance to this community,” said Connolly. “The opportunity to work side by side with Larry and our outstanding team for more than seven years has been tremendous, and I have total confidence that our top-quality Sun Belt portfolio and strong balance sheet leave us well positioned to maintain our standing as one of the top urban real estate investment trusts in the marketplace.”
Gellerstedt, 62, was named Chief Executive Officer of Cousins in 2009, and his role as Executive Chairman will focus on strategy, key client relationships, board governance and civic engagement.
“We’re thankful that Larry has agreed to continue as our Executive Chairman to guide strategy and to do what he has done so well for nearly a decade: ensure that Cousins sets the standard for commercial property ownership, management and development in our key markets,” said Taylor Glover, the Company’s Lead Independent Director. “This announcement is a key milestone in our succession planning effort, and the Board has complete confidence in Colin and his team.”