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October 3, 2023

Who Will Be the Next CEO of Grant Thornton?

Among the slew of tips we received about the layoffs that went down at Grant Thornton last week and what interim CEO Brad Preber had to say about it was this one that also piqued our interest:

As Brad Preber is the “interim” CEO, there are three people (women) currently being considered for the CEO position.

If true, good on GT for possibly promoting one of its female dynamos to the seat currently being kept warm by Preber.

According to our source, here are the three women who could be the next CEO of the Purple Rose of Chicago:

Jamie Fowler, National Managing Partner, Tax Services

Jamie Fowler

Our source told us that their money is on Fowler to be offered the position because “she’s earned her stripes and has the ear of the board.”

A member of GT’s senior leadership team, Fowler joined the firm in 2003, according to her bio. She has been national managing partner of tax services since Aug. 1, 2017, and is responsible for the growth and operations of GT’s tax services offerings.

Fowler previously served as managing partner for the firm’s Atlantic Coast region, overseeing all service lines in that territory. She also has held a number of service line, geography, and industry leadership roles at GT, including Northeast region partner-in-charge of tax, managing partner of the firm’s National Tax Strategic Solutions group, and principal architect of the Grant Thornton Shared Services Center in Bangalore, India.

She is a Big 4 refugee, having served in leadership positions for KPMG in Atlanta, Dallas, and New York, where she was tax partner in charge of transportation for North America.

Nichole Jordan, National Managing Partner, Markets, Clients & Industry

Nichole Jordan

A GTer since 2006, Jordan leads the firm’s strategic client portfolio of more than 1,000 major client relationships, as well as the firm’s geography, industry, go-to-market, sales, and customer experience teams, according to her bio.

As a member of GT’s senior leadership team and the firm’s growth committee, Jordan has been involved in the design and implementation of a firm-wide strategy to enable growth across all service lines, industries, and geographies. She also has helped lead the firm’s efforts to make Grant Thornton a “truly digital enterprise,” her bio states.

In addition, Jordan represents senior leadership in working closely with some of the firm’s largest clients, and she has helped develop the firm’s key alliance relationships in a variety of markets and sectors, as well as building GT’s network of advisory boards and other leadership forums around the country.

Jordan is an Arthur Andersen alumna.

Kelli Knoble, Tax Services Practice Leader, Carolinas

Kelli Knoble

Based in Charlotte, NC, Knoble is a 17-year veteran of Grant Thornton. She currently serves as the tax services practice leader for the Carolinas and has worked for more than 20 years in state and local tax, her bio says.

According to a profile of Knoble in the Charlotte Business Journal, she was promoted to Carolinas tax leader in 2010 after co-leading the Carolinas state and local tax practice. Knoble led the team in achieving 8% to 10% annual revenue growth over a five-year period by attracting clients and streamlining work processes.

In her current role, Knoble focuses on income and franchise tax reviews and planning opportunities. She also addresses clients’ business expansions and contractions related to state and local tax registration and filings, unemployment tax issues, and merger analysis. In addition, she performs tax due diligence and state audit defense and negotiation.

Knoble began her career at Arthur Andersen as a tax staff accountant.

We’ve reached out to Fowler, Jordan, and Knoble for comment.

According to our source, the new CEO won’t likely be announced until early 2020.

They don’t want to make many more changes in 2019 for fear of it affecting revenue if clients got nervous and changed firms.

We’re also hearing that former Grant Thornton CEO and president of the Rickie Fowler Fan Club, Mike McGuire, is taking a position with Grant Thornton International, although we don’t yet know what that position will be.

On Aug. 1, McG took over the role of Grant Thornton CEO emeritus after it was announced in early June that he would be moved out of the corner office. As CEO emeritus, he will serve as a brand ambassador for the firm, focusing on business development and supporting key client relationships.

Any other GTers hearing rumblings about Fowler, Jordan, or Knoble? Have any write-in candidates to add to this list? Give us a shout by emailTwitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

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Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

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