Eight years after stepping down as CEO of Raymond James Financial, Tom James will relinquish his title as board chairman at the St. Petersburg company's annual meeting Feb. 16.
James, 74, will retain a seat on the financial services firm as chairman emeritus with his handpicked successor as CEO, Paul Reilly, adding the duties of board chairman.
The transfer, announced Thursday afternoon, is part of a succession plan developing since Reilly joined Raymond James as president in 2009.
"The timing is right for this transition for several reasons," James said in a statement.
He noted that he worked with the board for Reilly to hold both titles and oversee meetings with the support of the lead director, Susan Story.
"Furthermore," James said, "my wife Mary and I have become very involved in the work to establish the James Museum. I am looking forward to opening the museum in the coming year and spending more time with Mary and our family."
James has served in a variety of roles in the business since the 1962 founding of an investment firm headed by his father, St. Petersburg broker Robert James. In 1964, the elder James and Edward Raymond merged their firms to create Raymond James.
Tom James acted as chairman and CEO for more than 40 years.
Reilly described James as "a thoughtful and generous mentor" even before he was named as his successor.
"No one knows our business better than he does, but just as important, Tom has been a vigilant and tireless teacher for our associates, passing on the values and lessons critical to upholding the firm's heritage," he said.