Jon Campisi Oct. 13, 2011, 4:08pm

The Philadelphia law firm of Cozen O’Connor announced Wednesday that it has shaken up its management team.

The law firm has named Michael J. Heller, formerly the chair of the firm’s business law department, as its new president and executive partner, it announced in a news release.

Thomas “Tad” Decker, who joined the firm in 2000 as a managing partner, will remain as its chief executive officer.

Decker had left Cozen O’Connor in 2004 after then-Gov. Ed Rendell appointed him as chairman of the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board soon after gambling was legalized in the commonwealth.

Decker stayed in that position until his return to Cozen O’Connor as its president and CEO in 2007.

Meanwhile, the firm has announced the appointment of Vince McGuinness, formerly chief administrative partner, as its new managing partner.

Decker had nothing but positive things to say about the reorganization.

“Michael and Vince are clearly two future leaders of Cozen O’Connor,” the CEO said in a statement. “This structure recognizes that fact and is part of the succession planning process that was begun four years ago when I rejoined the firm. Along with our COO, Dave Ellman, they are part of the Office of the CEO and will work with me in implementing the strategy of the firm, including our plans for strategic growth.”

Similarly, Heller and McGuinness had high hopes for Decker’s continued leadership.

“Tad led this firm through a period of profitable growth during the worst downturn in the history of the legal industry,” Heller said in the press statement. “I’m honored to serve with Tad and Vince to continue to execute on our strategic plan.”

Heller, in his new position, will continue his duties of leading the firm’s business attorneys and maintaining “his successful venture capital and emerging growth practice,” the release states. Heller, who joined Cozen O’Connor in 1995 as its first business lawyer, became chair of the business law department in 2007.

McGuinness, who joined the law firm in 1981, and who has previously held various management positions there, will handle administrative tasks and oversee the firm’s 21 offices.

The 550-attorney firm has locations in 22 cities across the nation, as well as in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Cozen O’Connor was formed in 1970. According to its website, it offers an array of legal services and specializes in various aspects of corporate and regulatory law and litigation.

Its website states that it is built upon a “foundation of uncompromising effort, integrity and work product,” and continues to build its reputation as a “superior provider of a full spectrum of legal services.

“To this end, we embrace a culture that is entrepreneurial in spirit, cohesive in operation and familial at heart,” the site states.

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