Columbia, S.C.-based Edens & Avant today named longtime company executive Terry Brown, 40, its new CEO. Founder Joe Edens, 61, who spearheaded the company's successful emphasis on grocery-anchored "Necessity Retailing," will continue as chairman.

Edens & Avant, which is the nation’s largest private owner of grocery-anchored shopping centers, also promoted Jodie McLean, 33, to president. A veteran of the company, McLean will continue in her role as chief investment officer.

Joe Edens founded Edens & Avant in 1965. In a statement, he noted that the company is in the midst of a five-year strategic growth plan and said he believes the changes will "better enable us to achieve our long-term strategic objectives."

Brown has acted as Edens & Avant’s financial adviser since 1995 and is the former chief executive of Andersen Corporate Finance. As chief investment officer, McLean has been responsible for the company's acquisition of more than $1.5 billion of retail assets.

-- Staff and wire reports