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New leaders as PKF Francis Clark gears up for a new era

PKF Francis Clark has announced a transition to new leadership in preparation for the retirement of managing partner Andrew Richards next year.

Paul Crocker has been elected to the role of chief executive officer, while Scott Bentley becomes chief operations officer. Both have been part of the firm’s management structure for some time, serving on both the firm’s executive committee and management board.

Managing partner since 2016, Andrew will retire at the end of March 2024 after 37 years with the firm. During his seven years at the helm, PKF Francis Clark has grown from around 400 people to more than 900 today, with turnover more than doubling to over £60 million.

Paul, who joined the firm as a corporate finance partner in 2015, said: “Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of the firm as a partner, office head and managing partner, while preserving our friendly and supportive culture.

“A symbiotic relationship with our clients has always been key to PKF Francis Clark’s success. As our client base has grown, our breadth of services has expanded to meet their increasingly complex advice needs. The firm has now reached a scale where we believe our new management structure will enable us to play to our strengths as we aim to capitalise on the exciting opportunities we see in the marketplace.”

Scott, formerly a corporate partner with Winter Rule, which merged with PKF Francis Clark in 2011, added: “It’s an exciting time for the firm, which Andrew has led to a very strong position. Embracing new technology and leveraging this to continue delivering outstanding services and solutions to clients will be a key priority. At the same time, we will continue to invest in and develop our people, providing great career opportunities here in the South West.”

Having worked in nearly every department during their PKF Francis Clark careers, Scott and Paul are well placed to lead the firm into its next chapter.

Andrew said: “On the day I became managing partner, we rejoined the PKF international network and completed our merger with Dorset-based Princecroft Willis. One of my highlights of the past seven years has been seeing our Poole office flourish as an integral part of PKF Francis Clark. We have also steadily grown our presence in the Bristol market since opening our office in the city in 2019.

“What has remained constant is the friendly, approachable service and our team culture. The sort of people who are attracted to the firm are hard-working team players who care about their colleagues.

“The thing I’m most proud of is leading the firm through the pandemic. That was undoubtedly the toughest time of my career, and the loyalty we showed our people during the pandemic has been repaid tenfold.

“The firm has an amazing future. Over the next five to 10 years, our industry will go through a revolution with digitalisation and automation, and PKF Francis Clark is ideally placed to take advantage of these changes thanks to our breadth of specialist skills, our support teams and the strength of our advisory offering.”

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