First female named to CEO spot among top 25 CPA firms

Clifton Gunderson, ranked as one of the nation's largest certified public accounting and consulting firms, has announced it has named Krista McMasters as Chief Executive Officer. McMasters succeeds Carl George, who, in a planned move, is retiring after 16 years as CEO of Clifton Gunderson. McMasters will begin the transition into her new role, effective immediately, until she officially takes office on June 1, 2009.

"Since joining our firm, Krista has played an instrumental role in key business initiatives at Clifton Gunderson -- from ensuring our firm provides the best quality service to our clients, to providing strategic oversight to the firm's human resource and business development areas to grow our firm," said George. "The appointment of Krista as CEO is an exciting and significant step forward for our firm and we are excited about the passion and commitment Krista brings to her new role as CEO."

McMasters becomes the fourth CEO in Clifton Gunderson's nearly 50 year history. She also becomes the first and only female to serve as CEO among the nation's top 25 certified public accounting firms in the history of the profession.

"Clifton Gunderson is the largest accounting firm to appoint a woman to its top leadership position," said Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. "Krista's achievement is an important signal that old barriers are falling. Today, women make up more than half of new accounting graduates and account for 20 percent of firm partners nationwide. The CPA profession and accounting firms have long been leaders in flexible work schedules and balancing different life demands, regardless of gender."

Added George, "Clifton Gunderson is recognized in the accounting profession as a progressive, forward-looking firm, as evidenced by our innovative career development initiatives, a strong work-life balance philosophy and a unique localized client-serving structure. Today's announcement further highlights our continuing goal to reward talented and experienced professionals. Our accomplished professionals have the insight and experience to help our client's succeed in today's competitive and dynamic business environment."

McMasters has a 30 year history with the firm, having joined as an associate accountant in 1978. She was admitted as a partner in 1985, became Director of Assurance Services in 1989, and most recently serves as Chief Practice Officer.

Carl George will continue to play a key strategic role with Clifton Gunderson until his retirement in 2012.

"For nearly two decades, Carl George has led our firm as a caring, charismatic, and forward-thinking CEO, and I am very fortunate to have been provided with many amazing opportunities and experiences. Carl's leadership and commitment to Clifton Gunderson are characteristics to be admired and ones I will carry over in my new role as CEO," said McMasters. "I look forward to continuing to promote the unique and progressive Clifton Gunderson culture and I am excited about what the future holds for our firm and for our clients."

McMasters is Certified Public Accountant and a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council and the AICPA Council. She also served as a member of the Professional Practice Executive Committee of the Center to Audit Quality, co-chair of the task force for the AICPA's Audit Guide on Assessing and Responding to Audit Risk in a Financial Statement Audit, and is a former member of the Quality Control Inquiry Committee, the SECPS Peer Review Committee, and the Accounting Standards Executive Committee.

McMasters received a bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of Illinois. "In addition to providing strategic focus and leadership, Krista has developed a strong commitment to our clients and to the accelerated career development of our people," said Bill Oliver, board chairman for Clifton Gunderson. "Krista's passion for the firm, vision for continuous improvement, and ability to execute on that vision, focus on quality and core values of integrity, trust, and professional respect are all key attributes for her selection."

About Clifton Gunderson

Clifton Gunderson, ranked as one of the nation's largest certified public accounting and consulting firms, provides a wide range of assurance, accounting, tax, and consulting services to clients in a variety of industries. Founded in 1960, Clifton Gunderson has a staff of more than 2,000 professionals serving clients from 45 offices across the country. The firm has been recognized as one of the country's best places to work.

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