Changing fate: 162-year-old firm reinvents succession

When founding partners won't let go, many firms end with a death or coup. SmithGroup hopes to survive awhile longer.

Last Monday, an unusual leadership succession took place at Detroit-based SmithGroup, the oldest architecture and engineering firm in the United States.

Outgoing CEO Carl Roehling, 63, stepped aside from the top job he'd held since 2001, and Randal Swiech, also 63, the firm's chief operating officer, did the same.

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