June 23, 2009 / 10:08 AM / in 10 years

Chipman named to lead Grant Thornton U.S. firm

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP said on Tuesday that Stephen Chipman will become chief executive of the firm in January.

Chipman, who has been an executive in Grant Thornton’s China region for the last two years, succeeds Ed Nusbaum, who is leaving the post to become CEO of Grant Thornton International, one of the top six global accounting firms.

The U.S. unit is Grant Thornton’s largest revenue- generating unit, representing about $1.2 billion of the firms global $4 billion in revenue last year.

Chipman said in an interview with Reuters last week that he expects to play a role in pushing Grant Thornton to grow internationally over the next few years.

“One of the things you will see us focusing on is expanding our global capabilities through the global organization,” Chipman said. “That will allow us, frankly, to be even more competitive with our largest competitors.”

Grant Thornton typically competes with the “Big Four” accounting firms — PricewaterhouseCoopers PWC.UL, Deloitte & Touche DLTE.UL, Ernst & Young ERNY.UL and KPMG KPMG.UL — as well as BDO International.

Chipman also expects the firm to continue to build its number of partners and employees, even during the economic recession.

“We are making strategic investments in talent in industry expertise, technical expertise and international expertise, so that, when we come out the other side of this weak economy, we will have enhanced and grown and built some of our talent capabilities,” Chipman said, noting that, due to the economy, the firm has more access to people with developed skills in these areas than it ordinarily would have.

Grant Thornton’s U.S. unit has grown its employee base by more than 11 percent in the past two years, to about 5,970 employees and partners at the end of fiscal 2008, according to the firm.

Chipman, who has been with Grant Thornton for about 28 years, will take up his new role on January 1, 2010.

Reporting by Emily Chasan; editing by Andre Grenon

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