Evan Stowell Appointed MP of Leone McDonnell & Roberts

Evan Stowell

Wolfeboro, N.H.-based Leone McDonnell & Roberts announces that Evan Stowell has been named MP of the firm, succeeding Jack Callahan, who served as MP for seven years.

Stowell began his career with the firm in 2002 and was admitted to the partnership in 2012. He has been part of the management team since then.

As MP, he will oversee the firm’s five New Hampshire offices, while continuing to serve clients with audit, tax and accounting services. Callahan will also continue to serve clients.

“The firm is poised for continued growth and success under Evan’s leadership,” Callahan says. “He puts people first, and is passionate about finding and mentoring the next team of leaders who will best serve our clients in the spirit of collaboration, efficiency and innovation. Given the regulatory changes to our industry and emerging technologies in the accounting profession, Evan is well suited to advance the firm with our clients’ goals in mind.”

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Pease & Associates Appoints Kuno Bell as MP

Kuno Bell

Cleveland-based Pease & Associates (FY18 net revenue of $15.7 million) has announced the appointment of Kuno Bell as MP, replacing founder Joe Pease, who will step away from the MP role but remain as chairman and a member of the executive board.

Bell directs the tax department, and has led the team’s growth efforts. He joined the company as an intern in 1990. While still employed at Pease, Bell went on to earn a Juris Doctor degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

In his new role, Bell will be instrumental in the firm’s continued growth and success. His key areas of expertise and experience are in the manufacturing, real estate and nursing home practice areas. He is responsible for originating and growing the health care niche at Pease, which is now nearly half the firm’s revenue.

“We are excited to have Kuno assume the role of managing partner, and continue the memorable journey we began decades ago,” says Pease, who at 62 decided the time was right to hand over the reins to the next generation. “Kuno aspired to be in this role from the time of his interview way back as an intern, and now it has become a reality.”

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Brad Smith Assumes MP Role at MCM CPAs & Advisors

Brad Smith

Louisville, Ky.-based MCM CPAs & Advisors (FY18 net revenue of $56.8 million) has transitioned the MP role to Brad Smith, the firm’s former assurance services team leader. Smith, who has been with the firm for the past 17 years, is replacing Diane Medley, who will assume the role of executive chairman at MCM.

They’ve been working together on the transition for the past year. “The accounting profession is evolving, and we’re responding to those changes, but I want to ensure we’re always building on the strong foundation provided by our firm’s founders,” Smith says.

Smith will lead the strategic direction of the firm for its nearly 350 employees who work across its five offices in Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio. He will steward MCM from a business perspective, lead client service and growth initiatives, and work with the firm’s partners and industry and service leaders to set and achieve short- and long-term objectives.

In her new role as executive chairman, Medley will remain with MCM full time and continue to work with select clients, manage firm governance and lead several strategic initiatives. She will also take on a strategic leadership role with Meritrust Wealth Management, an MCM-affiliated financial services firm that she originally founded. She will continue to represent the firm through her various community leadership roles.

Smith’s primary focus with clients is middle market growth-oriented companies in the manufacturing, distribution, services and construction industry niches. He is also active in community endeavors.

“I know that Brad will always have the best interest of MCM’s clients, partners and team members in the forefront of his vision and execution of strategy for the firm,” says Medley.

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Prager Metis Names New OMP in New York

Stuart Mayer

New York-based Prager Metis CPAs (FY18 net revenue of $98.2 million) announces that partner Stuart Mayer has been named OMP in the New York office.

His key responsibilities include growth, profitability, management and leadership, and  organization and personnel. He will also continue to lead the firm’s private companies group from the Manhattan office.

“This achievement is a testament to Stuart’s professional growth and dedication to the success of the firm,” says Lori Roth, MP of the Northeast region of Prager Metis. “We are excited to see him excel in this role and I am certain his leadership will allow for continued success and growth in our New York office.”

Mayer focuses his practice on new business and client development in a variety of industries including fashion, online media and interactive services companies. He also works extensively with the real estate industry, including CIRAs, developers, management companies and rental companies.

He has been featured as “Executive of the Month” by New York Real Estate Journal, and was selected as a “Top 40 Under 40” by Long Island Business News.

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Grant Thornton Announces Leadership Transition

Chicago-based Grant Thornton LLP (FY18 net revenue of $1.9 billion) announced that CEO Mike McGuire will assume the role of CEO emeritus, effective Aug. 1. In this role, McGuire will serve as a brand ambassador for the firm, focusing on business development and supporting key client relationships. McGuire also will help execute a seamless leadership transition for the firm.

“It has been the honor of my life to lead Grant Thornton over the past five years, and I am so proud of all we’ve accomplished as a team,” says McGuire. “Our firm is on a great path to continue to create value for our clients, build on our leading quality and culture, accelerate innovation and growth, and disrupt our profession.”

Mike McGuire

“As fast as the marketplace is changing,” McGuire continued, “I believe we now need to transition as quickly as possible to new leadership that can take us on the next leg of our journey to become the ‘firm of the future’ over the next five years or more. I will do everything in my power in the coming years to help the firm navigate this transition and continue to succeed.”

Since becoming CEO in 2015, McGuire and his leadership team have steered Grant Thornton to record-setting revenue and driven its audit quality results to the top of the profession, while also investing in the firm’s culture and brand. In addition, under McGuire’s leadership, Grant Thornton has invested in innovative capabilities aimed at transforming the professional services industry in the years to come. The Partnership Board released a statement saying that, “Mike McGuire has taken our firm from the ‘now’ to the ‘next’ and on to the ‘new,’ and we thank him for his vision and leadership.”

The Partnership Board will continue its previously announced long-term CEO succession process that is currently underway with a leading executive consulting firm.

Bradley J. Preber

The firm will be led by Bradley J. Preber who will serve as interim CEO-elect, effective immediately, working closely with McGuire and other members of the senior leadership team until formally accepting the position of interim CEO on Aug. 1. Preber is currently the chairman of the Partnership Board and national managing partner of Business Risk Services for the firm. He also serves as the Phoenix OMP. Preber will temporarily step aside from these roles while he serves as interim CEO. Preber has served in a number of executive roles since joining the firm from another global public accounting firm in 2003.

Preber said, “Mike McGuire has positioned the firm well for future success, and I am prepared to lead our firm forward as our board continues the succession process.”

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Kurt Gresens Named MP of Wipfli

Kurt Gresens

Kurt Gresens

Kurt Gresens has become the new leader of Milwaukee-based Wipfli LLP (FY18 net revenue of $317.9 million). Wipfli partners had previously elected Gresens, who will succeed Rick Dreher, who is completing the final term of his 13-year tenure as the firm’s MP and chairman of the board. The firm also announced that Kelly Fisher will take over Gresens’ current role of practice partner effective June 1.

Gresens has been a partner at the firm since 2006 and was elected to Wipfli’s board of directors in 2013. Most recently he has served on the firm’s leadership team as overall practice partner since 2016. During his career at Wipfli, Gresens has served a variety of clients across industries and played a key role in helping create the firm’s Vision 2020 and Wipfli 2025 strategies.

“Kurt first joined Wipfli in 1992 right after graduating from college and moved through the company’s ranks. His appointment as the new managing partner is an exciting milestone in our firm’s future and succession plan that the board has been working on for more than a year,” Dreher says. “Over the years, Kurt and Kelly have played key roles in the strategic growth and direction of the firm, and we are very confident in their ability to take Wipfli to the next level.”

“Under Rick’s guidance and leadership, Wipfli has achieved ambitious growth, and he has paved an excellent path for us to follow,” says Gresens. He adds that Fisher “brings with her a strong transformational mindset and extensive experience implementing new technologies. Her deep knowledge and ability to identify and put ambitious goals into action will help accelerate the firm’s transformation.”

Fisher, who previously led the tax practice, has more than 17 years of public accounting experience in manufacturing, technology, professional services and international operations, including experience with a Big 4 accounting firm.

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CohnReznick Elects David Kessler Next CEO

David A. Kessler

David A. Kessler

New York-based CohnReznick LLP (FY18 net revenue of $623.7 million) announces that the partnership group has elected David A. Kessler to serve as its next CEO starting Feb. 1, 2020 at the completion of CEO Frank Longobardi’s term.

Kessler is a member of CohnReznick’s executive board and is currently the MP for the real estate practice, the firm’s largest industry practice, directing the strategies and overseeing operations for the affordable housing, commercial real estate, construction and tax credit groups.

He led CohnReznick’s commercial real estate practice for many years, building a strong national practice and reputation for the firm among developers, investors, private equity fund managers, REITs and other industry stakeholders.  He is actively involved with the firm’s advisory, assurance and tax practices.

Kessler previously served as the co-OMP of the firm’s Bethesda, Md., office, where he is based. Kessler is a home-grown leader who began his career at CohnReznick legacy firm Reznick Fedder & Silverman immediately after graduation from the University of Maryland. He has been with CohnReznick for more than 33 years.

Kessler frequently speaks on a variety of business topics at conferences throughout the U.S. and has developed and taught real estate accounting courses at Georgetown University and the University of Maryland.

“My goal is to build upon Frank’s outstanding leadership by continuing to distinguish CohnReznick as the firm with an inclusive environment to foster the careers of our people while providing state of the art solutions to help our clients achieve their vision for their businesses,” Kessler says.

Longobardi will continue in his role as CEO while working closely with Kessler during the transition. “As a highly skilled and experienced advisor, David’s approach to client service clearly demonstrates that being immersed in the issues and opportunities for your industry builds successful relationships and propels growth,” Longobardi says. “His vision for this firm is exciting and I am confident in his ability to lead CohnReznick’s next chapter of success.”

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Dalby Wendland & Co. Names Chris West as CEO

Christopher L. West

Grand Junction, Colo.-based Dalby Wendland & Co. (FY18 net revenue of $13 million) announces the election of Christopher L. West as the firm’s CEO, effective July 1.

“We are positioning Dalby Wendland for a dynamic future,” says firm president Greg Keller. “Chris has shown strong leadership, insight and is committed to our people, clients and communities. He is the right person to lead this organization and successfully implement our firm’s vision.

As CEO, West will focus on firm leadership and vision direction, including operations, people, client service, technology and overall growth strategies. He is a Colorado native and started with Dalby Wendland in 1996. He became a tax principal in 2009.

Dalby Wendland & Co. has six offices in Colorado: Aspen, Glenwood Springs, Grand Junction, Montrose, Rifle and Telluride.

Murray Elected Managing Shareholder at Weinstein Spira

Kristin Murray

Kristin Murray

Weinstein Spira of Houston announced that Kristin Murray has been elected the firm’s managing shareholder.

Murray succeeds Dianne Peckham, the firm’s first female managing shareholder who served for nine years. Peckham will continue serving her clients and acting as a resource until her retirement on June 30.

“I am delighted to lead Weinstein Spira into its next stage of growth, guiding the firm through the evolution of the accounting environment of the future. We know changes are coming and I am confident that our forward-looking approach will allow us continued success,” says Murray.

Murray brings a deep knowledge and solid experience in tax, change leadership and firm administration that will be integral in executing initiatives critical to meeting the firm’s strategic goals.

“I have worked closely with Kristin for the past 10 years, and I know she will be a great leader for Weinstein Spira,” says Peckham. “Her contributions and commitment to the firm have been immeasurable. I look forward to seeing where she takes Weinstein Spira in the years to come.”

After starting her career with an international public accounting firm, Murray joined Johnson Baur & Carrillo as a partner in 1998.  She later became a shareholder at Weinstein Spira when the two firms merged in 2008.

With more than 25 years of hands-on experience directing, delivering and supporting progressive firm processes and initiatives, Murray has been a critical driver behind Weinstein Spira’s push for increased efficiencies, valuable client service offerings and a welcoming culture. As managing shareholder, she will oversee firm operations, spearhead further innovation and foster the environment for an exceptional culture.

PKF International Welcomes New CEO

James Hickey

PKF International has announced that James Hickey will be the new CEO. Hickey will be replacing John Sim, who has led the association for 6 years.

Hickey is an inspirational leader with a wealth of expertise in achieving high growth within mid-tier accounting and law firms around the world. Hickey served as CEO of the Alliott Group since November 2012.

When asked about his understanding of the changing dynamics in the accounting world, Hickey says, “Those firms that think like accountants and lawyers when they strategize for their tomorrow will simply not have a tomorrow. Whether it be AI, mergers, changes in regulations or any of the other market disrupters, professional service firms need to be open minded to new delivery models to maintain a relevance within their respective markets.” He continued, “At the core of PKFI’s tomorrow has to be the right digital strategy. But this must represent an extension of who we are. If we adapt with integrity always preserving our belief that ours is a network of trusted business advisors and build strategic digital value into this offering – then the potential for expansion and deeper relationships will be phenomenal.”