Baird's president, Steve Booth, was promoted to CEO, replacing Paul Purcell, the firm announced.

Booth, a longtime Baird veteran, was expected to replace Purcell as head of the firm as part of a multi-year transition. Purcell, who will continue to serve as chairman, said that Baird will be in good hands with Booth at the helm.

"I've had the pleasure of being a mentor, friend and business partner with Steve for more than 25 years," Purcell said in a statement.

Both men joined the Milwaukee-based firm in 1994. Booth first led Baird's Investment Banking Industrials Group. He later co-managed Equity Capital Markets. In 2013, he became chief operating officer and then president a year later.

Booth, who is retaining his role as president, is the eighth person to lead Baird since it was founded in 1919, according to the firm.

Purcell became CEO in 2000. Under his tenure, Baird again became an employee-owned firm following its buyback from Northwest Mutual in 2004, according to a Baird spokeswoman.

The firm has also made several notable acquisitions, including McAdams Wright Ragen in 2014. The Seattle-based wealth management firm had more than 80 advisors based in seven offices in the Pacific Northwest.

Baird currently has more than $150 billion in client assets. In 2014, the firm reported $1.2 billion in revenue, up 12% year-over-year. More than 3,200 employees work at Baird.

"Under Paul's leadership, we've focused on best serving our clients in an ever-changing, very competitive landscape," Booth said in a statement.  "A key part of Paul's legacy is regaining our independence and again becoming an employee owned firm.  Being privately held and associate-owned is our single most important competitive advantage because it enables us to make long-term decisions and investments to serve our clients and to create a great workplace." 

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