As soon as he turns 80 he will step down.

Charles Duell, the president and chief executive officer of Middleton Place Foundation, has announced his retirement. In June he will hand the reins to Marion Tracey Todd, currently vice president and chief operating officer, according to a news release.

Duell is a descendant of Henry Middleton, who established Middleton Place as a rice plantation in 1741 and served in the Continental Congress. Henry's son Arthur Middleton succeeded his father in the Continental Congress and was among the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

Duell's mother Josephine Scott Smith was the daughter of Heningham and Pringle Smith, who began the restoration of the property, setting the stage for its transformation into a National Historic Landmark. Pringle Smith, a Charleston attorney, was the nephew of Williams Middleton, who was great-grandson of Arthur Middleton.

Duell inherited Middleton Place and the Edmondston-Alston House in 1969, when he was 31. He established the Middleton Place Foundation, a nonprofit educational trust, in 1974.

Todd's career at the foundation began 27 years ago when he worked at the Edmondston-Alston House on the Charleston Battery. Before becoming COO, he served as director of education and interpretation and vice president of museums.

Todd has worked on numerous educational projects, produced two documentaries and overseen many regular and special events. Currently he is shepherding  construction of a new pavilion at Middleton that will open in the spring.

Contact Adam Parker at or 843-937-5902.

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