The top executive at the region's biggest residential real estate agency has set a succession plan in motion.

Patty Scarafile, the longtime president and chief executive officer of Carolina One Real Estate, said her son Michael Scarafile has been named president, effective immediately.

She will remain CEO of the company.

The change was announced in a note to the firm's staff Wednesday.

"While Michael and I share the same last name, he has earned this position, through his years of hard work and successful real estate leadership experience, navigating through the most challenging time in our industry's history," she wrote.

She said that her successor as president "has also been integrally involved in all major decisions and daily leadership of the company" since joining the agency nearly seven years ago.

Carolina One has 11 offices in the Charleston region that are staffed by more than 750 sales associates. It says it participates in about one out of every three local homes sold through the Charleston Multiple Listing Service.

A lawyer, the younger Scarafile was named general counsel of Carolina One in January 2005 after working as an attorney at McNair Law Firm. He has served in a variety of management and operational roles since then.

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Patty Scarafile said she and other top officials began talking about the need for an orderly succession plan about six years ago.

She, Grange S. Cuthbert II and Jim Reese will remain involved in the day-to-day operations in their roles as CEO, vice chairman and general manager, respectively.

"I don't want there to be any confusion in my message. ... Today's announcement simply puts into place one more piece to insure our future," she wrote.

Carolina One traces it roots to 1969, when James David O'Shaughnessy started O'Shaughnessy Realty. The firm has been affiliated previously with several national real estate brands, including Coldwell Banker and Prudential Real Estate. It went independent in May 2008.

Carolina One officials could not be reached for additional comment Thursday.