CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP), one of the leading professional services firms in the U.S., today announced the appointment of Jen Leary as chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2021. Current CEO Denny Schleper will transition to a CEO emeritus role and remain actively involved in the firm through 2021. Leary’s appointment is the culmination of a year-long process, which commenced when the CLA board and owners ratified the CEO decision in December 2019.
Leary brings over 22 years of experience and spent the last 11 years at CLA serving in various client services and firm-wide roles, and most recently as chief strategy officer and a member of CLA’s board of directors.
“Jen has the experience and extensive knowledge of the industry to continue to build our brand and global reach. The collaborative transition process between leaders across the firm over the past year has me excited for the future,” 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 added, “CLA operates very intentionally. Our leaders are actively involved before, during, and after any transition. We stand on the shoulders of giants – the many leaders who came before us to create our CLA legacy. I’m proud to lead within a firm where succession is evident at every level.”
CLA will continue to build upon Schleper’s teams-based approach, which brings together teams diverse in background, experience, and knowledge to make decisions and communicate them authentically and transparently. CLA also announced today the appointments of five senior executives who will serve with Leary as the firm’s leadership team:
- Nancy Brown, Chief Culture and Engagement Officer
- Cathy Clarke, Chief Quality Officer
- Scott Engelbrecht, Chief Geographic Officer
- Yassir Karam, Chief Solutions Officer
- John Langan, Chief Industry Officer
These changes also foretell an exciting generational shift for the firm. Today 67% of leaders are Generation X or Millennial, and that number is projected to increase to 85% in two years. The shift is a testament to CLA’s seamless approach to changes in leadership, which gives young leaders early exposure to leadership opportunities.
“CLA’s immediate focus in 2021 is helping our clients navigate to the other side of this pandemic and uncover opportunities in the process,” said Leary. “We look forward to building on our commitment to positioning our clients, our people and our communities to build a stronger future.”
CLA exists to create opportunities for our clients, our people, and our communities through industry-focused wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services. With more than 7,500 people, 121 U.S. locations, and a global vision, we promise to know you and help you. Investment advisory services are offered through CliftonLarsonAllen Wealth Advisors, LLC, an SEC-registered investment advisor.