Bob Basten, Chairman and CEO of Centerprise Advisors Inc., has been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), more commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig's disease. Mr. Basten, 42, will resign his CEO post immediately. He will remain as Chairman of the Board. Centerprise was ranked last year by Bowman's Accounting Report as the 14th largest national accounting firm in the country as well as the most profitable firm.
Mr. Basten founded Centerprise in 1998. Prior to that he was president and CEO of American Express Tax and Business Services. He is a former professional football player with the Minnesota Vikings.
"It is with great difficulty that I share this shocking news," Mr. Basten said in a letter to his staff. "While I have always believed that it would be naÃ¯ve to assume that I wouldn't get some bad along with all the good I've received in my life, this news was tough to take. Thankfully, I have come to realize that life is full of choices and that life itself is only 5% the cards we are dealt and 95% how we play them. As a result, I choose to play to win... I choose to live, to laugh, to focus on what I can control and to work hard to try and make a difference. It is these beliefs that prepare me well for the challenges of my new reality with ALS."
Rick Stein, Centerprise Vice Chairman, will take over the position of interim CEO. "Over the years, I have come to regard Rick as one of the most talented professional services firm operating leaders in the country," continued Mr. Basten in his letter. "Rick's intelligence, entrepreneurial drive and focus on excellence make him ideal for this role."
ALS is neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness. The disease is usually fatal and has no cure.
Mr. Basten has formed the Playing to Win for Life Foundation for ALS Research. The Foundation will provide funding for research into treatments and a cure for ALS.