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Grant Thornton Plans Global Brand Repositioning

April 27, 2011

Grant Thornton LLP is planning a major marketing campaign later in the year to reposition the Chicago-based firm around the world.

“Look for a major brand repositioning for us in the fall,” CEO Stephen Chipman said in an interview Wednesday at the Accounting Today offices.

He noted that the firm already had a great deal of success in its previous efforts at global brand positioning, but the firm now wants to emphasize its core strengths with “dynamic companies.” The firm is positioning itself to specialize in high growth industries such as energy, health care and professional services. Chipman said the firm has also gotten more “granular” in specialized areas such as trucking and logistics, and convenience store chains.

Stephen Chipman

“We’re getting very focused and clean,” he said.

Last year, the firm sold off its offices in Albuquerque, N.M., and Honolulu, Hawaii, and consolidated several offices in Wisconsin and the Carolinas. However, the firm has also been growing in some ways, buying the parts of LECG that used to be known as Smart & Associates. As part of the deal, which also saw other practices from the financial troubled LECG going to FTI Consulting and WeiserMazars, Chipman said that Grant Thornton added 27 partners and 250 professionals, most of whom originally belonged to Smart (see LECG Sells Practices to FTI, Grant Thornton, WeiserMazars).

However, Chipman emphasized that he wasn’t aiming to make GT into a “Big Five” firm, and said the point was driven home at a recent firm-wide meeting.

“We made it clear that we’re not building a firm to audit GE,” he said. “Let’s get clear about the verticals and the skills.”

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