Baird is promoting a nearly 20-year veteran of the firm as part of a succession plan for when its chief operations officer retires, a move that comes amid new growth for the firm's wealth management operations.

Laura Thurow will become director of wealth solutions and operations. She will also become the third woman to join the executive committee at the firm.

Laura Thurow, who leads the combined Wealth Solutions and Operations groups for Baird’s Private Wealth Management business, will be the third woman to join the firm's executive committee.
Laura Thurow, who leads the combined Wealth Solutions and Operations groups for Baird’s Private Wealth Management business, will be the third woman to join the firm's executive committee.
Baird

Milwaukee-based Baird is growing, opening five new offices this year in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Michigan and Ohio and acquiring a $2 billion firm in upstate New York. The firm has hired more than 30 new financial advisors, year-to-date, according to a spokeswoman for the firm.

Thurow is taking over for Russ Schwei, who will be retiring by the end of 2019 after nearly 35 years at Baird, according to the firm. Schwei will serve as vice chairman until his formal retirement.

In her new role, Thurow will be leading the wealth solutions and operations groups, responsible for supporting the people, platforms and back office services for the wealth management division at Baird, according to the firm.

“Laura is one of three members of our executive committee who joined the firm as interns and her deep knowledge of our business, relationships across Baird, and leadership skills made her an ideal fit for this new role,” CEO Steve Booth said in a statement.

As the third woman to sit on the executive committee, Thurow will be joining Mary Ellen Stanek, chief investment officer, and Leslie Dixon, who serves as chief human resources officer.

Thurow was unavailable to offer immediate comment.

Baird has hired over 30 adivsors this year, including H.B. Smith, who left Wells Fargo with his assistant financial advisor Daniel Bryant.
Baird has hired over 30 adivsors this year, including H.B. Smith, who left Wells Fargo with his assistant financial advisor Daniel Bryant. Baird

Baird oversees more than $135 billion in client assets. Head count now tops 860 advisors, according to the firm.

The company's newest hires include two recruits in Charlotte, North Carolina: advisor H.B. Smith and assistant financial advisor Daniel Bryant. They oversaw $150 million in assets at their former firm, Wells Fargo, according to Baird.

Smith spent a decade at Wells Fargo and 15 years at A.G. Edwards before it was acquired by the bank in 2008, according to FINRA BrokerCheck. Bryant spent 15 years at Wells Fargo and A.G. Edwards, per BrokerCheck records.

Prior to becoming an advisor, Smith served in the U.S. Navy as a nuclear engineer and submarine officer in the Pacific Fleet, according to Baird.

A spokeswoman at Wells Fargo did not respond to a request for immediate comment on the departures.

Jessica Mathews

Jessica Mathews

Jessica Mathews is a reporter for Financial Planning, On Wall Street and Bank Investment Consultant.