HLB International Welcomes New CEO

Marco Donzelli

Marco Donzelli

HLB International, a global accountancy network with presence in 140 countries, has announced that Marco Donzelli has been appointed CEO.

Donzelli, previously COO, is leading the network’s mission to ensure that HLB International cements its position as a global player in the industry.

Donzelli joined HLB International in February 2012 as head of strategic network development and then moved to the position of COO in August 2015. During that time, he has diligently helped grow the network’s cross-border business, and drove HLB International’s growth rate.

David Stene, HLB International chairman, says, “We are delighted to have Marco in place as our CEO. His efforts have led to the significant growth of the network and he is well respected by members and clients alike. He has a great vision for the network and is dedicated to ensuring the future success of HLB International.”

Donzelli’s career has focused on leading business development projects, entrepreneurial initiatives, business transformation and change management programs. He started his career in Italy, where after a brief period with Deloitte, he moved to Deutsche Bank, where he spent over six years in both commercial and internal consultancy roles before moving to the U.K. There, he set up a food-tech business and then joined MagicSolver, a top U.K. mobile innovator.

Donzelli says, “I am excited to be taking up my new position and delivering on our mission to help support our member firms and their clients leverage business advantages that will result in growth.”

Peric Appointed to Illinois Department of Revenue Group

Gary Peric

Gary Peric

Chicago-based Baker Tilly Virchow Krause (FY16 net revenue of $522.3 million) announces that partner Gary Peric has been appointed by Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) Director Constance Beard to serve on the director’s advisory group. The group comprises state tax practitioners willing to devote time to advise the director on issues faced by the IDOR and the state of Illinois.

“This is a great opportunity for Baker Tilly to give back to the business community by advising in a nonpartisan manner on significant tax changes,” Peric says.

Peric leads Baker Tilly’s state and local tax (SALT) practice. Baker Tilly’s SALT professionals offer specialized expertise that helps businesses and individuals understand and comply with increasingly complex state and local tax and unclaimed property requirements.

EY Announces New MP for Seattle

Tim Tasker

Tim Tasker

Big 4 firm Ernst & Young (EY) has announced the appointment of Tim Tasker as MP of its Seattle office.

Tasker will be responsible for maintaining high-performing client-serving teams, developing EY’s people, fostering a strong culture of exceptional client service, and furthering strong relationships with community, government and business leaders in Seattle.

Tasker has more than 27 years of experience providing audit services to public and private companies, including extensive experience working with entrepreneurs and multinational growth companies and their leadership teams. He has worked with some of the most recognizable technology and life sciences companies in the Pacific Northwest and around the world, and has led several successful IPOs, mergers and acquisitions and debt financings. Tasker succeeds Dan Smith, who will focus exclusively on the firm’s Seattle-based market-leading technology client before he retires in 2018, after 38 years with the firm.

During his tenure at EY, Tasker also has served as the program director for Entrepreneur Of The Year® in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to his leadership at the firm, Tasker is passionate about helping young people prepare for and succeed in the global market through entrepreneurship education and financial literacy.

“It’s truly an exciting time to take on this role and to lead the firm’s Seattle practice. The entrepreneurial community and the financing environment are flourishing here, and the strength of our technology ecosystem is palpable,” Tasker says.

EY Appoint Two MPs in California

Joe Muscat

Joe Muscat

New York-based Ernst & Young (EY) (FY16 gross revenue of $11.2 billion) has announced the appointments of Joe Muscat to MP of its Redwood Shores, Calif., office and Ibi Krukrubo to MP of its San Jose, Calif., office.

Muscat and Krukrubo will be responsible for maintaining high-performing client-serving teams, developing EY’s people, fostering a strong culture of exceptional client service, and furthering strong relationships with community, government and business leaders in the Silicon Valley.

Muscat succeeds Dianne Glynn, who will resume full-time client service for a growing roster of tech-enabled emerging companies. Muscat, an assurance partner, has been with the firm for nearly three decades and has extensive experience serving innovative and high-growth entrepreneurial clients in the cleantech, life science and technology industries. Muscat has helped some of the world’s most admired brands complete successful high-profile public offerings, collaborations, acquisitions and private placements.

Muscat says, “We have been advising and guiding entrepreneurs in the West for the past five decades, supporting innovators as they grow great ideas into global brands and I’m looking forward to continuing and building on this legacy of exceptional client service.”

Ibi Krukrubo

Ibi Krukrubo

Krukrubo, an assurance partner, succeeds Kailesh Karavadra, who will transition into his new role as the firm’s West Growth Markets Leader, focusing on taking companies public and recognizing the world’s most exceptional entrepreneurs through the Entrepreneur of the Year program. Krukrubo has extensive experience serving market-leading tech clients and is one of the youngest professionals to assume the MP role.

“San Jose is a dynamic place to be right now and we’re fortunate to work with the top innovators and game changers who are driving growth here and around the world,” Krukrubo says.

“Joe and Ibi are exceptional leaders and I am confident that they’ll thrive in their new roles and build on the impressive legacies of their predecessors,” says Kay Matthews, Ernst & Young West Region MP. “Their commitment to building a better working world and deep experience working with high-growth entrepreneurs and leading technology companies will serve our clients and the Silicon Valley community well.”

Muscat and Krukrubo are also deeply committed to creating social impact in their local communities and are involved in numerous organizations.

Andersen Tax Names New Transfer Pricing Managing Director

San Francisco-based Andersen Tax (FY15 net revenue of $197 million) welcomes Laurie Dicker as a managing director in the firm’s U.S. national tax office.

She is based in Washington, D.C., and will be part of the transfer pricing practice. She has more than 25 years of experience in transfer pricing across a broad set of industries. She assists clients throughout the entire transfer pricing cycle, from planning and documentation to controversy resolution.

Prior to Andersen Tax, Dicker was a managing director at Alvarez & Marsal, where she served multinational clients for over nine years and wrote frequently on current transfer pricing issues. Before that, she worked as a principal at EY. Earlier in her career, she held multiple roles at Arthur Andersen.

“Laurie embodies both the quality and passion for client service that remain central to our firm’s seamless and best-in-class service,” says Andersen Tax CEO Mark Vorsatz. “Her technical expertise and wide-ranging experience will sharpen our ability to compete in today’s global market.”

Seven Myths Of CEO Succession: Are Firms Taking The Right Steps To Find The Next CEO?

The CEO’s departure is, sooner or later, inevitable – but are companies prepared for it?

With CEOs turning over at a rate of 10-15% per year – from jumping to another company to resigning due to poor health, poor performance, or just retiring – both accounting firms and public companies would be expected to be well-prepared for CEO succession. But governance experts from Stanford and The Miles Group have found a number of broad misunderstandings about CEO transitions and how ready the board [firm] is for this major change.

In a piece for the Stanford Closer Look Series, David Larcker and Brian Tayan of the Corporate Governance Research Initiative at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and Stephen Miles of The Miles Group name seven myths surrounding CEO succession – myths shared by corporate boards as well as a large amount of the business community.

“The selection of the CEO is the single most important decision a board of directors can make,” say the authors, but turmoil around these decisions at the top “have called into question the reliability of the process that companies use to identify and develop future leaders.”

What are the seven myths? 

Myth #1: Firms know who the next CEO will be. “The longer the succession period from one CEO to the next, the worse the company will perform relative to its peers,” says Larcker. “But, shockingly, nearly 40% of companies claim they have no viable internal candidates available to fill the shoes of the CEO if he or she left tomorrow.”

Myth #2: There is one best model for succession. “There are several different paths firms can take to naming a successor – including internal and external approaches,” says Miles. “One reason firms fall short at succession planning is that they often select the wrong model for their situation. A firm may need an external recruit to lead a turnaround, for instance, or may have the capability to groom multiple internal executives over a period of time to allow the most promising one to shine through. One size does not fit all.”

Myth #3: The CEO should pick a successor. “Sitting CEOs have a vested interest in the current strategy of the firm and its continuance, and they may have ‘favorites’ they want to see follow them,” says Larcker. “Boards, however, must determine the future needs of the firm, and what kind of successor will best match the direction the firm is headed.”

Myth #4: Succession is primarily a “risk management” issue. “While a failure to plan adequately certainly exposes an organization to downside risk, boards should understand that succession planning is primarily about ‘building’ overall value,” says Miles. “Succession planning is as much success-oriented as it is risk-oriented.”

Myth #5: Boards know how to evaluate CEO talent. “Our 2013 survey found that CEO performance evaluations place considerable weight on financial performance and not enough weight on the nonfinancial metrics that have proven correlation with the long-term success of firms,” says Larcker.

Myth #6: Boards prefer internal candidates. “While, ultimately, three quarters of newly appointed CEOs are internal executives, external candidates still hold a strong appeal for succession – especially at the beginning of a search,” says Miles. “Often boards aren’t given enough exposure to internal candidates, and directors are often nervous about giving an ‘untested’ executive the full reins of a firm. There is a still-prevalent bias against promoting the insider ‘junior executive’ to the top spot one day. So, while the myth may end up mostly true in the end, there is often a long journey of getting the board to that decision.”

Myth #7: Boards want a female or minority CEO. “The numbers speak for themselves,” says Larcker. “Diversity ranks high on the list of attributes that board members look for in CEO candidates, and yet female and ethnic minorities continue to have low representation among actual CEOs. We continue to see that boards select CEOs with leadership styles they perceive to be similar to their own, and the fact is that boards today are still highly non-diverse when it comes to gender and ethnic backgrounds.”

Withum Partners with Early-Stage Tech Companies in Central Florida

Princeton, N.J.-based WithumSmith+Brown (Withum) (FY16 net revenue of $147.1 million) has announced its continued commitment to advancing the growth of entrepreneurship in Orlando, Fla., by partnering with Canvs, Starter Studio, FireSpring Fund and the Orlando Tech Association (OTA) over the next two years.

The firm is a “visionary sponsor” committed to mentoring early-stage tech companies in building their businesses throughout the state’s central region.

Ranked No. 27 on the 2016 IPA 100 list, Withum maintains a dedicated technology services group offering traditional and customized advisory services for the technology industry. The specialists serve a broad client base ranging from startups to household names in the tech marketplace.

“Withum has signed on at the highest level of sponsorship in order to support this highly critical, yet severely underfunded business segment, where some of the greatest ideas of a generation are born,” says Withum’s Jim Bourke, practice leader of the firm’s technology services group. “Our goal is to encourage and advance the truly innovative concepts being explored by early-stage tech companies with roots in Central Florida through advocacy, inspiration and mentorship.”

Withum is collaborating with Canvs, a non-profit co-working space for tech startups in downtown Orlando; Starter Studio, which provides education, mentorship, legal and financial resources; FireSpring Fund, a seed-stage capital provider and advanced tech accelerator; and Orlando Tech Association, the leading voice and conduit for Orlando’s tech community. These organizations provide resources and links to key constituents necessary to move the tech ecosystem forward in Central Florida.

“Withum is truly a visionary organization and we are delighted to partner with them in growing innovation in the central Florida region,” says Donna Mackenzie, spokesperson for the four organizations that benefit from Withum’s support. In addition to financial resources, Withum’s technology specialists are offering lunch and learn programs, guest speaking at demo days for Starter Studio and FireSpring Fund, and hosting meetups with OTA at Canvs.

Marcum Names Diaz Chief Human Capital Officer

Claudio Diaz

Claudio Diaz

New York-based Marcum (FY15 net revenue of $412.4 million) has named Claudio Diaz as chief human capital officer.

In addition to recruiting and retention for the 16th largest accounting firm in the country, Diaz is responsible for managing human resources and benefits programs for about 1,500 Marcum employees and partners in the firm’s U.S. offices. He oversees a national team of human resources professionals providing support services in every Marcum region of the country.

Diaz has more than 25 years of human resources experience, including 12 years with a top 25 accounting and consulting firm with offices in the U.S. and abroad. His diverse career also includes HR experience in the manufacturing, health care and entertainment industries. He is an active member of the Society for Human Resource Management and has been a featured speaker at many national HR conferences.

“Claudio will play a leadership role in helping to manage Marcum’s ongoing growth both in our existing markets and in new regions as the firm’s footprint continues to expand,” says MP Jeffrey Weiner. “He will lead Marcum’s human resources team to help ensure that the firm’s human capital investment is realized to the fullest.”

RSM Names Becker National Consulting Leader

Brian Becker

Brian Becker

Chicago-based RSM (FY16 net revenue of $1.85 billion) announced that Brian Becker has been appointed to serve as the firm’s national consulting leader, responsible for leading RSM’s growing consulting practice, which includes financial advisory, risk advisory, and technology and management consulting.

He will also serve as a member of RSM’s national leadership team, and report directly to MP and CEO Joe Adams.

“Brian is a strong and innovative leader who has shaped our technology and management consulting practice, which has been a strong contributor to the growth of RSM and the success of our clients,” Adams says. “I am confident our consulting practice will continue to provide outstanding service to clients, and support RSM’s journey to be the first-choice advisor to middle market leaders globally with Brian at the helm.”

Becker has held various leadership roles in RSM’s consulting practice since 1998, including his most recent roles as national technology and management consulting leader and leader of consulting in the firm’s Central region. He also served on the RSM board of directors from 2011–2015. Becker replaces Gary Sturisky, who has resigned from RSM to pursue other opportunities.

BDO Consulting Expands Corporate Real Estate Advisory Services

Ross Forman

Ross Forman

BDO Consulting, a division of Chicago-based BDO USA (FY16 revenue of $1.29 billion), announced the expansion of its corporate real estate advisory services practice, appointing Ross Forman as managing director and leader of portfolio strategy.

Forman brings more than 25 years of strategic real estate management experience to his new role, where he will work with clients to evaluate their current real estate portfolio performance and identify opportunities to reduce cost and enhance operating efficiencies. The addition of portfolio strategy and performance optimization services is the latest in a series of moves by BDO Consulting to grow its corporate real estate advisory service offerings.

“In today’s competitive business environment, companies have recognized the impact that real estate choices can have on their bottom line,” says Michael Pappas, practice leader of corporate real estate advisory services at BDO Consulting. “Ross brings a strategic lens to our comprehensive service model that will marry savings opportunities at individual locations with overall portfolio performance optimization.”

Along with the expansion, the firm has implemented a new diagnostic methodology, which provides real-time, reliable, industry-specific data used for the critical analysis of clients’ real estate assets. The approach streamlines the benchmarking process.

“Changing workforce demographics, emerging technologies and an expanding global economy have underscored the need for a more sophisticated approach to corporate real estate,” says Forman, who served as the global real estate strategy lead at Accenture before joining BDO.