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ATLANTA-Cousins Properties Inc. is making two key personnel changes at its local headquarters. Steve Yenser succeeds Joel Murphy as executive vice president, while Dan Fields will take over for Bruce Smith as president of the company’s land division and senior vice president of Cousins’ development group.

Yenser, who joined the company in 2002, will lead Cousins’ leasing and asset management functions, as well as its third-party services business. He most recently served as senior VP of leasing and asset management. Murphy will retire from the company at the end of the year and will serve as a consultant to Cousins starting in 2009.

Fields, a 19-year veteran of John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, has worked extensively in land acquisition, management, brokerage and strategic planning, and will be responsible for Cousins’ residential projects. Smith will retire Dec. 31 and will also remain a consultant to the company on residential and land development.

“Steve and Dan both bring experience and passion to their respective positions, and I look forward to their individual and collective impact on the company’s future success,” Tom Bell, Cousins chairman and CEO, stated in a release. He added that the company is fortunate to have attracted or grown other top talent to succeed retiring executives such as Murphy and Smith.

Cousins disclosed plans in November to repurchase up to $20 million worth of preferred stock between now and May 2009, either on the open market or in negotiated block transactions. The company posted favorable funds from operations of $50.9 million through the first nine months of 2008.

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