Press Release

Munsch Hardt Announces Senior Management Changes

MAR 27, 2024

(DALLAS) Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr, P.C. (“Munsch Hardt”) announces that after 10 years as Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”), Phil Appenzeller will transition out of leadership and back into private practice. Along these same lines, Houston-based Shareholder Michael Harvey has succeeded Munsch Hardt co-founder Steve Harr as the Firm’s General Counsel (“GC”). Finally, Dennis Roossien has been elected to serve as the Firm’s interim Chief Operating Officer (“COO”) during these transition periods.

“At the Firm’s Annual Management Meeting earlier this year, I informed our Board of Directors and other members of our leadership team of my decision for them to begin the process of transitioning to a new CEO,” stated Appenzeller. “I have been fortunate to have held this position for 10 years, longer than any other CEO in Munsch Hardt’s history. When I was reelected for another term beginning January 2023, it was widely known it would be my last, as I believe change is essential for growth and progress. Serving in this role has undoubtedly been the highlight of my career, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunities and experiences I have gained along the way.”

Under Appenzeller’s leadership, Munsch Hardt has grown by more than 50%, both in headcount and profitability, which was evident by the Dallas Business Journal’s inclusion of the Firm in its 2022 list of the Metroplex’s “50 Fastest Growing Companies.” One of Appenzeller’s proudest accomplishments was working to make the Firm one of the best places to work in Texas, a recognition bestowed upon the Firm by The Dallas Morning News for nearly a decade, as well as The Houston Chronicle.

Appenzeller’s plan to step down comes on the heels of finalizing office build outs and moves for the Firm’s Dallas (2023) and Houston (2022) offices, as well as completing the Firm’s 2024 budgeting, compensation and promotions meetings. By seeing these projects and annual meetings to fruition, the Board is able to focus on succession planning.

While the Firm will begin its internal process to nominate and elect its next CEO, there will be a transition period where the incoming CEO will shadow Appenzeller before officially taking over the reins. There is no set timeline for this process, and Appenzeller, much like the Munsch Hardt CEOs before him, will serve as an advisor and confidant to the new CEO.

General Counsel

Additional leadership changes at the top include Harvey being appointed to serve as the Firm’s GC, with Harr transitioning into the Assistant General Counsel (“AGC”) role. Harvey, who has been with the Firm for 14 years, has been shadowing Harr for the past two years and will continue to maintain his active litigation practice while he builds out a full GC’s office. Harr will continue to ensure a smooth transition by serving in the AGC role until the end of the year.

“Over the past several years, I have trained under the best of the best. I am extremely grateful for Steve’s insight, guidance and mentorship that have prepared me to step into this role with a full understanding of the responsibilities that come along with it,” commented Harvey. “I look forward to continuing my partnership with Steve over the coming months as we look to build out a full Office of the General Counsel, positioning the Firm for long-term growth within the Texas markets.”

As the Firm’s GC, Harvey will serve as a member of Munsch Hardt’s senior leadership team and participate in strategic, management and policy decisions. He will also be responsible for protecting the Firm’s legal interests, maintaining its operations within the scope of the law, and providing guidance on risk management and related liability issues.

Chief Operating Officer

Finally, the Firm has elected Dennis Roossien to serve as interim COO during the transition period for both the CEO and GC roles. Roossien has been a trusted and highly regarded member of the Firm for more than 30 years, including serving as an integral part of the Firm’s Compensation Committee. While Roossien will maintain an active litigation and receivership practice, he will also oversee the day-to-day business functions of the law firm. More specifically, he will be providing strategic support and oversight for the Firm’s CFO and accounting team, while also ensuring consistent decision making across all administrative functions during the transition periods.

“Rick Kopf and I are continually in awe of the great law firm we founded nearly 40 years ago. We never imagined it would grow to be what it is today – one of the strongest middle-market law firms in the state of Texas. To say we are proud of the Firm and those who have grown it over the years would be an understatement,” said Harr. “As the Firm prepares to celebrate its 40th Anniversary next year, we have full faith members of the Firm’s leadership will continue the Munsch Hardt legacy. While change and succession planning can be bittersweet, Rick and I are confident in the Firm’s foundation and growth potential as it elects and appoints the next generation of great Munsch Hardt leaders.”