Steve Samek, the former head of Arthur Andersen's U.S. operations, will take over the helm of accounting firm consolidator UHY Advisors Inc.Samek succeeds James B. McGuire in the top slot at UHY. McGuire, who left the firm in the middle of last year, had come aboard the roll-up firm formerly known as Centerprise in August 2003; it re-named itself UHY Advisors in the fall of 2004.

During the firm rebranding, McGuire said that UHY would continue to focus on the middle market, and ideally move to marketing its specialty services to larger corporations.

UHY Advisors was formed in 2000 following the merger of Houston-based Mann Frankfort Stein & Lipp and four large regional firms. The consolidation was aided by a $250 million infusion of capital from private investors.

Samek assumes the reins from acting co-chief executive officers Anthony Frabotta and Richard Stein, and will be based at the UHY Advisors headquarters in Chicago.

A 30-year veteran of the accounting profession, Samek left Andersen in 2001 and returned to his native Chicago to work on his own as a marketing consultant after a failed bid to become the Big Five firm's chief executive.

He was made a partner at Andersen in the 1980s after working on the industry side for a number of years, and he became the firm's worldwide head of auditing in 1996, where he encouraged the upselling of other services by auditors before being promoted to overseeing Andersen's U.S. operations in 1998.

Samek had spent the last six months working with UHY Advisors as a consultant, before being approached by the firm to consider taking on the chief executive officer role.

"The firm is comprised of smart people who truly care," Samek told Accounting Today. "They've done a very good job with taking on the new name ... There's a lot of depth and a lot of unique opportunities here to develop the brand and put UHY on the map relatively quickly."

He added, "There's some risk, but we're up for it. This is a transformative time for the industry, with a lot of unique opportunities in what we're calling the dynamic mid-market. We want people to know we're serious and we're excited about the future."

UHY Advisors Inc. and its subsidiaries have more than 1,000 professionals providing services from 19 offices across the United States. UHY was ranked No. 16 on Accounting Today's 2005 list of Top 100 Firms, with revenues of $174 million.

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