BDO Appoints New Chief Executive, Chairman

Jack Weisbaum, 64, has been tapped to be the chief executive at BDO Seidman LLP, a company that has been the subject of a tax shelter investigation, the Wall Street Journal reported.

A former vice chairman, Weisbaum had retired from BDO four months before his interim appointment last year but had continued to work as a consultant to BDO.

Wayne Kollins, 60, was appointed chairman. The appointments come a year after a shake-up at the nation's seventh-largest accounting firm. Weisbaum was appointed then as interim chairman and chief executive.

As part of the series of announcements, the company said it has appointed a new 12-member board of directors and has overhauled its governance structure.

Now, the firm's 250 partners select the chief executive, while the board retains control over the chairman appointment, Dow Jones reported.

Weisbaum and Kollins are representative of a new corporate trend of separating the titles of chairman and chief executive, which were commonly held by the same person in the past. BDO was no different.

Former BDO Chairman and Chief Executive Denis Field was placed on an indefinite leave of absence in October 2003 and left the firm earlier this year, the Journal reported. Field supervised the national tax practice, where he was involved in the development of some of the firm's most aggressive tax shelters.

Field's removal was part of a larger management shake-up and not related to the IRS probe of the tax shelters, BDO said at the time.

The 2002 collapse of Arthur Andersen has seemingly benefited BDO, which has expanded its audit client list. But, like other firms, BDO has faced a series of investigations into its tax-shelter practices.

As of Feb. 29, BDO was the independent auditor for 283 publicly traded U.S. companies, according to the newsletter Public Accounting Report, the Journal reported.

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