Kim O'Connor appointed Boston office head at Grant Thornton

21 January 2019

Kim O’Connor has been named the office managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Boston office. The experienced assurance partner has been with the Chicago-based accounting and consulting firm since 2004.

As an assurance partner, O’Connor has worked primarily with public and private international firms in life sciences and consumer industrial products. She has deep experience in M&A, restructuring, SEC reporting, and internal controls. She has also served as a relationship partner to numerous clients, helping them stay abreast of evolving challenges.

O’Connor has also taken an active role in Grant Thornton’s culture, previously serving on the firm’s culture steering committee. She has led dozens of training and workshop programs internally and externally, primarily focusing on the support of women in the workplace.

Her community involvement includes volunteering with charitable organizations Boys & Girls Club, Birthday Wishes, and Ronald McDonald House.

Kim O'Connor appointed Boston office head at Grant Thornton

Prior to heading the Boston office, she was partner-in-charge of the Westborough, MA Market. The Westborough office is one of the eight offices within Grant Thornton’s Northeast region, which also include Albany, Boston, Hartford, Manhattan, Melville, MetroPark, and Stamford. The Northeast region is the firm’s largest, with over 1,500 employees working across the region.

“New England is a dynamic market that is well-positioned for continued growth across all of our service lines,” said David Platt, Northeast regional managing partner at Grant Thornton LLP. “Kim’s passion for growing our practice across New England and sincere interest in our people make her the perfect leader for our Boston office.”

Before joining Grant Thornton in 2004, O’Connor spent 16 years with PwC, where she served as an audit and consulting partner. She holds a CPA designation in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA). O’ Connor has a BS in economics from the Wharton School of Business.

In other Grant Thornton people news, Kevin Pleiter was recently brought in as a principal in Financial Services Advisory – splitting time between the firm’s Stamford and NYC offices. A long-time veteran of IBM, Pleiter brings over 25 years of financial services consulting experience to the role.


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Real estate consultancy CBRE appoints Leah Stearns as chief financial officer

22 April 2019

CBRE, the world’s largest real estate services and investment firm, has appointed Leah Stearns as its new chief financial officer. Stearns was previously the CFO of the US division of American Tower, a major communications infrastructure firm. She will be based out of Dallas.

As CFO, Stearns will oversee CBRE’s global finance and accounting structure, including tax, treasury, financial planning, and investor relations. Stearns has nearly 20 years of experience in finance and investor relations.

She rapidly climbed the ranks at American Tower after joining the firm in 2001. Based in Boston, the Fortune 500 company – structured as a real estate trust – owns and operates over 170,000 wireless and broadcast communications sites in 16 countries. Real estate consultancy CBRE appoints Leah Stearns as chief financial officerOver her career at the firm, Stearns focused on investor relations, financial planning, and capital markets, rising from the position of manager, to director, to vice president, and then senior vice president. In 2017, she was appointed CEO of the EMEA region, and in November 2018 Stearns was appointed CFO of the US division. In her final role at American Tower, she oversaw the US business’ finance and accounting, mergers and acquisitions, and supply chain, as well as other areas. American Tower had over $6 billion in revenues in 2017, with 50% of its operating profit arising from the US division.

Stearns holds an MBA from Boston College, as well as a BS In finance from Boston University. She is a board member of the non-profit Brookline Community Mental Health Center.

“Leah will bring tremendous capabilities to CBRE,” Bob Sulentic, the company’s president and chief executive officer, said. “She is an exceptional executive who has risen rapidly in her career and has had significant responsibilities in financial management, operational leadership and international activities. Her background is well suited to help us drive our strategy.”

Stearn’s appointment, effective May 15, will see current CFO Jim Groch transition to the role of global group president and chief investment officer.  As chief investment officer, Groch will lead CBRE’s M&A activities and capital allocation into real estate investments.

Based in LA, CBRE had over $14 billion in revenues in 2017, and has approximately 480 offices and 90,000 employees worldwide.

Related: CBRE recognized among World's Most Ethical Companies for sixth year running