DAYTONA BEACH — Tom Leek, former president and managing partner of the Cobb Cole law firm, has accepted the role of chief legal officer with a growing insurance firm launched by Charlie Lydecker.

But Leek isn't severing ties with Cobb Cole, a firm that he has worked at for more than two decades.

Leek in a phone interview said he became an "of-counsel" attorney with the firm effective Jan. 1, allowing him to represent longtime clients. The phrase means he will continue a relationship with a law firm but not as a partner or associate.

Leek, who is also a Republican state representative, on Feb. 1 joined newly formed Foundation Risk Partners as its chief legal officer and executive vice president of business strategy implementation. He will oversee all legal matters, as well as human resources and compliance issues for the new company, which incorporated last year.

Daytona Beach-based Foundation Risk Partners is an insurance agency holding company led by owner/CEO Lydecker, a former longtime executive with Brown & Brown Inc., a Daytona Beach-based national insurance agency.

"I'm excited about the opportunity to work with the incredibly dynamic team at FRP," Leek said in a written statement. "Charlie Lydecker and I met when I came back to town and we have been friends for more than 20 years. Charlie's drive for success is unparalleled and the opportunity to work together was too great to let pass."

"I'll still have an office at Cobb Cole. I'll just also have an office at FRP," he added.

Lydecker said he is excited to have Leek join the company.

"We are fortunate to have Tom Leek and his years of experience join our leadership team," Lydecker said. "Tom joins us at a critical juncture in our growth and I could not be more pleased to have my old friend on board."

Heather Vargas, who succeeded Leek as president and managing partner at Cobb Cole on Jan. 1, in a phone interview said, "We're very glad Tom's going to stay with us and continue to work with our clients in his areas of expertise — commercial litigation, particularly employment litigation."

Lydecker also is owner of Halifax Insurance Partners LLC, formerly known as Mitchell Noel Insurance, which offers business, personal, life and health insurance. Both Foundation Risk Partners and Halifax Insurance Partners share the same offices at 1540 Cornerstone Blvd., located in the Cornerstone office park in Daytona Beach. FRP is the holding company for Halifax Insurance Partners as well as other companies, Leek said.

Both Leek and Lydecker are active in the community and are past chairs of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce.