Minneapolis law firm Gray Plant Mooty has named Michael Sullivan Jr. as its new managing officer, the top executive position whose role is to set a strategic direction for the practice.

He will oversee 175 lawyers across offices in the Twin Cities, Washington, D.C., St. Cloud and Fargo.

Sullivan, who specializes in mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, has been on Gray Plant Mooty's board of directors since 2014. He replaces Sarah Duniway and Charles Maier, who have jointly led the firm for the past four years. Both will return to full-time practice.

Gray Plant Mooty is the fifth-largest firm in the state, according to a ranking by the Twin Cities Business Journal. The 153-year old firm had a record-setting year in 2018, according to the announcement.

Board Chairwoman Jennifer Reedstrom Bishop said in a statement that Sullivan has the full support of the board and shareholders.

"He has a deep understanding of the challenges facing law firms in a changing marketplace, is a consensus builder, has been an active board member, is respected throughout the firm, and is well positioned to lead the firm into the future," she said.

Sullivan, in a statement, said he intends to build on the firm's momentum.

"We have aggressive growth goals, which include adding attorneys, expanding our geographic reach, and building relationships with new clients in key practice areas," he said.

Jackie Crosby • 612-673-7335 Twitter: @JackieCrosby