Krista McMasters has decided to resign as co-chief executive officer of CliftonLarsonAllen and retire on April 1, 2013, a little over a year after the firm's creation from the merger of Clifton Gunderson and LarsonAllen.

"At the first anniversary of our merger, the CLA board reviewed the firm’s co-CEO structure and determined that operating under the leadership of one CEO will increase the pace of integration of our two firms and give better definition to our firm’s strategic initiatives,” CLA board’s chairman Steve Meindl said in a statement. “As a result, Kris elected to retire and Gordy Viere will assume the sole CEO role.”

The firm stated that over the next few months, McMasters will be exploring new opportunities in business and board service, which leverage her leadership, experience and passion for growing people.

McMasters, who is a CPA, spent 35 years in the accounting profession. She joined Clifton Gunderson as an associate accountant in 1978, was admitted as a partner in 1985, became director of Assurance Services in 1991, and served as chief practice officer before she was promoted to CEO in 2009.

McMasters, who made Accounting Today’s list of Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting on several occasions, became the first and only woman to serve as CEO among the nation’s current top 50 certified public accounting firms. (see: Top Firm Names First Woman CEO.)

During her tenure as CEO of Clifton Gunderson, McMasters helped the firm carry out an aggressive growth strategy which focused on external expansion and increased specialization, collaboration, discipline and communication. She also led the firm on a couple of mergers, including the combination of CliftonLarsonAllen.

McMasters is currently a member of the AICPA Nomination Committee, a former member of the AICPA Council, the Professional Practice Executive Committee of the Center for Audit Quality, the Quality Control Inquiry Committee, the SECPS Peer Review Committee and the Accounting Standards Executive Committee.

McMasters also served as co-chair of the Task Force for the AICPA’s Audit Guide on Assessing and Responding to Audit Risk in a Financial Statement Audit. In addition she served as a member on the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, an advisory council to the Financial Accounting Standards Board, and the Blue Ribbon Panel on Private Company Financial Reporting.