Atlanta-based Cousins Properties Inc. has named Thomas D. Bell Jr. president and CEO. Bell succeeds long-time Cousins leader Thomas Cousins, who will remain chairman of the board.

"I strongly believe that part of any chief executive officer’s responsibility and success is to find the right successor," Cousins said. "After more than 40 years as CEO of Cousins, it is time to transition to fresh, energized leadership and I am confident that Tom Bell is the right person for the job."

Bell also fills the position left vacant by R. Dary Stone, who stepped down from his position as president and COO to move back to the Dallas area after only 10 months. Stone will continue to handle Cousins’ Texas operations and serve on the board of directors.

Bell previously served as vice chairman of the company’s board of directors and chairman of the executive committee. He also has held positions as senior advisor to Credit Suisse First Boston, chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc. and vice chairman of Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. Bell currently serves on the boards of Lincoln Financial Group, McLeod USA and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.