Roughly a year after a governance shakeup that saw the departure of its chief executive Denis Field and the shuffling of the make-up of its board of directors, BDO Seidman announced its new CEO and board slate.
On Monday, Jack Weisbaum, 64, who has been board chairman since Field's departure last year, was elected CEO. Wayne Kolins, national assurance director and a member of the accounting and auditing committee of BDO International, was named chairman of the board, succeeding Weisbaum.
Prior to his appointment as acting CEO and chairman last October, Weisbaum served as vice chairman and special assistant to the chairman, and as the national leader for the firm's specialized services business line.
Late last October, the Chicago-based firm announced that chairman and chief executive Field had taken an indefinite leave of absence, along with governance changes, including the approval of a board resolution to develop amendments to the partnership agreement that would allow for increased partner participation in board elections and firm leadership.
At the time of the announcement, the firm said that the changes reflected a growing movement among firms toward more traditional services, such as assurance and Securities and Exchange Commission services, in response to the accounting scandals and strict new laws governing the profession -- factors that it said led its partnership to re-evaluate the makeup of the board and the governance of firm.
Under a process that it said started last December, BDO's entire partnership voted on several amendments to the partnership agreement. The firm said that the most significant changes involve a larger, more independent nominating committee responsible for providing at least two candidates for CEO and directors' positions to be voted on by the entire partnership. Mechanisms were also put in place to allow the partnership to remove a CEO or board member should a majority of partners desire.
On Monday the firm also announced its new board of directors. Members of the new board are: James Blinka, a tax partner in the Milwaukee office and national director of BDO's executive compensation and employee benefits consulting practice; Jay T. Duke, a partner and leader of assurance services for BDO's Dallas office; Al Ferrara, Northeast business line leader for the assurance practice and a member of the firm's SEC risk management committee; Lee Graul, BDO's national SEC director; Eric H. Hananel, a tax partner in the New York office; Terry Kelly, a member of the international tax consulting group based in Phoenix and the U.S. representative on the BDO International Policy Board since 2000; Carl Pergola, national director of FirstGlobal Investigations, the litigation support and fraud investigation division of BDO Seidman; Alan Sellitti, a senior technical partner based in New York; Douglas Sirotta, who specializes in advising companies in the technology, communications, entertainment and manufacturing industries on tax-related issues in the firm's San Jose office; and Christopher Tower, an assurance partner in BDO Seidman's Orange County office.
Kolins, Ferrara, Graul, Kelly and Weisbaum had each served on the previous board of directors.
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