CLA appoints Jen Leary as chief executive officer

29 December 2020 2 min. read
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CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), a national accounting and consulting firm, has appointed Jen Leary as CEO, effective January 1, 2021. She is based in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Leary, who has been with the firm for 11 years, succeeds CEO Denny Schleper, who will stay on in the role of CEO emeritus through 2021.

“Jen has the experience and extensive knowledge of the industry to continue to build our brand and global reach,” said Schleper. “It has been an honor to serve the CLA family for over 30 years in many roles, across multiple geographies and service lines.”

Leary bring more than 22 years of experience in professional services to the role. She most recently served as CLA’s chief strategy officer and was a member of the company’s board for the last three years. Leary joined CLA in 2009 as a partner in the audit and business risk services practice.

Before CLA, Leary was an audit partner for over two years at SB & Company, a Maryland-based accounting and consulting firm. She began her career at EY, where she spent nine years across the firm’s Washington, DC-area and Amsterdam, Netherlands offices. She was latterly a senior manager, providing assurance, consulting, and M&A advisory services.

Leary holds a BS in accounting and management information systems from the University of Delaware.

Jen Leary, Chief Executive Officer, CLA

“CLA’s immediate focus in 2021 is helping our clients navigate to the other side of this pandemic and uncover opportunities in the process,” Leary said. “We look forward to building on our commitment to positioning our clients, our people, and our communities to build a stronger future.”

CLA was formed from the merger of Clifton Gunderson LLP and LarsonAllen LLP in 2012. As of 2019, CLA was the eighth largest accounting and consulting firm in the US, behind the Big Four and RSM, Grant Thornton, and BDO. The firm has approximately 6,500 employees across 120+ offices in 29 states, with expected revenue of $1.2 billion for 2020.

Despite the challenges of the pandemic, CLA made five acquisitions this year, including the purchase of BlumShapiro earlier this month. The Hartford, Connecticut-based business advisory firm was one of the largest consultancies in the New England region, with more than 500 employees across offices in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Virginia. BlumShapiro had annual revenue of approximately $100 million.

The deal will bump CLA’s presence to 7,000+ people in 31 states.