Neal Spencer, who has led Top 10 firm BKD for nearly five years, plans to step down around June 1, according to the firm.

BKD has not yet named a successor, but in his statement, Spencer said, “The partner chosen to succeed me will have the passion to take our firm to heights even greater than I imagined, and I will be the next CEO’s biggest supporter.”

The firm said that Spencer is “is stepping down to spend more time with family and pursue other professional passions within the firm.”

Spencer has served as CEO at the Springfield, Mo.-based firm since June 1, 2007, and plans to remain with BKD. After shifting his duties and responsibilities to the new CEO, he will help evaluate the firm’s existing growth and service opportunities and pursue new opportunities for the firm. BKD has a succession plan in place and is moving forward with identifying Spencer’s successor.

The firm ranked 10th on Accounting Today’s 2011 list of the Top 100 Firms, with $391 million in annual revenue.

Spencer has been responsible for the leadership and strategic direction of the firm’s nearly 2,000 employees, including approximately 250 partners, in 30 offices. He also has chaired BKD’s governing board, which sets firm policy and oversees strategic initiatives.

In his time as CEO, Spencer guided the firm through the economic downturn, and restructuing the firm into three geographic operating regions and a virtual operating region comprising national initiatives and subsidiaries. He also guided the firm through a comprehensive rewriting of the BKD partnership agreement and oversaw a rebranding effort designed to position BKD in the marketplace. He also helped the firm grow through a series of acquisitions in new markets—Dallas, San Antonio and Waco, Texas, and Jackson, Miss.—as well as existing markets.

Spencer entered public accounting in 1986, joining BKD’s Little Rock, Ark., office and was elected partner in 1995. Before becoming CEO, he spent 10 years as managing partner of the Kentucky and Southern Indiana offices. During that time, he helped expand BKD’s presence through acquisitions and the opening of a new office in Louisville, Ky., in 2002.

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