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11
Connecticut CPA
g
May/June 2016
Mark:
Does the managing partner maintain
a book of business?
David:
As managing partner, you have one
client BlumShapiro.
Joe:
... but that comprises the firm, our
people, and our clients the whole ball
of wax.
Mark:
What makes a good firm managing
partner?
Carl:
The main thing is to be able to commu-
nicate with pretty much every person
in the firm and especially the partner
group ... because they all have differ-
ent priorities and goals and initiatives,
and sometimes we may not be able
to support things that each individual
partner wants to drive.
Joe:
Vision, strategy, and communication.
Getting everyone to embrace and un-
derstand their role with enabling each.
Carl:
When I joined the firm in 1984, it was
clear to me you did the job and did it
the right way, you treat your people
and your clients well, and you try to
make the firm better. As the managing
partner, that's the job ... and you can't
uphold the firm's values if you're not
living them personally. Not with 430
people watching every day.
Joe:
And they do watch. You are under a bit
of a microscope. We are evaluated on
an ongoing basis by everyone; part-
ners, staff, and clients. Certainly there
is a formal evaluation process with the
executive committee, but we are ac-
countable on a much broader basis to
all our key stakeholders.
David:
We need to be realistic, and we need
to be positive ... we're cheerleaders.
Joe:
And we've moved a bit away from
command-and-control type organiza-
tion, we're flatter, allowing individu-
als to make decisions on behalf of the
partnership. But at the end of the day,
the managing partner has the ultimate
responsibility.
Mark:
David and Carl what was the big-
gest challenge you each faced as
managing partner?
David:
I was dealing at that point with how
could we transition from the founding
partners being the dominant partners
in the firm into the next generation. I
think the founding partners always
saw the big picture we were trying to
create, but it certainly was the biggest
challenge of that period.
Carl:
Three or four years into my tenure,
we were running out of growth op-
portunities to a certain degree in Con-
necticut and decided we wanted to
be New England's number one player
... and that included a big merger and
acquisition piece, along with organic
growth, growing the industry groups
... but we needed to be in different
markets to keep growing. To do these
long-term plays, you need to invest
short-term dollars and those aren't
always easy discussions. We're prob-
ably halfway through our New Eng-
land plan at this point, but that was
a challenge, I would say.
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u
Joseph A. Kask
Firm Managing Partner elected 2016
Carl R. Johnson
Firm Managing Partner 2001-2015
David B. Rosenthal
Firm Managing Partner 1986-2001