Firm News

Cherry Bekaert Elects Michelle L. Thompson as Firm Managing Partner

calendar iconOctober 18, 2017

Cherry Bekaert LLP (“the Firm”), a growth-oriented, nationally recognized public accounting and consulting firm, is proud to announce the election of Michelle L. Thompson, CPA, as Firm Managing Partner and Chief Executive Officer.

Voted in at the Firm’s annual Partners’ Meeting on October 18, 2017, Thompson will transition from her current position as Managing Partner of Cherry Bekaert’s Assurance Services practice and assume her new role effective May 1, 2018.

“I am thankful to all the leaders of the past and present who have built this Firm, and I am honored to have been selected by the Partnership to lead the Firm into the future,” states Thompson, who is based in Cherry Bekaert’s Raleigh practice.

As Firm Managing Partner, Thompson will be responsible for the overall strategic planning and direction of the Firm, as well as for establishing a new vision for Cherry Bekaert. “My vision is ‘Sustaining Success through Transformation and Innovation.’ I want to honor our 70-year history by positioning the Firm to quickly absorb, process and respond to the changing world through the services we offer and the way we offer them,” Thompson explains. Her leadership will include serving as Chairman of the Firm’s Executive Board, in addition to the day-to-day administration and financial management of Cherry Bekaert.

Starting her career as an auditor with a national accounting firm, Thompson has become a highly-regarded leader and advisor with respect to her clients’ assurance and audit needs, as well as among her peers at Cherry Bekaert. Private and publicly held corporations from various industries seek her advice and expertise regarding assurance, risk management and audit services. In addition, she is a frequent lecturer on topics ranging from COSO requirements to fraud and internal control systems.

Joining Cherry Bekaert as a supervisor in 1998, Thompson quickly moved up the ranks to become an Assurance Partner in 2001. In 2011, she joined the Firm’s Executive Management Team when she was named Managing Partner of Assurance Services. In this capacity, Thompson manages the resource utilization and client experience associated with the delivery of assurance services to the Firm’s clients.

Thompson will succeed Howard J. Kies, CPA, who will be stepping down on May 1, 2018, as Cherry Bekaert’s Firm Managing Partner after serving in this role for the past 27 years. Kies has played an integral role at Cherry Bekaert for more than 40 years. Under his leadership as Firm Managing Partner, Cherry Bekaert has experienced continuous advancement through strategic acquisitions and organic growth initiatives to include expansion into all major metro markets in the Southeast; development of industry and specialty groups providing valued solutions and services for clients; restructuring the Firm; and building a ‘one firm’ culture resulting in Cherry Bekaert’s revenue growing from $20M to over $200M today. The Firm has also received numerous accolades, such as being recognized one of the “Best Places to Work” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Triangle Business Journal and others, and being a Top 25 Accounting Firm for the last several years.

“I am pleased that Michelle is the one my fellow Partners have chosen to lead Cherry Bekaert into the future,” said Kies on Thompson’s election. “During a time when the Firm is experiencing unprecedented growth and planning for additional expansion, I am confident Michelle will be an asset as Firm Managing Partner and guide Cherry Bekaert forward for many years to come.”

One of Thompson’s focus areas as Firm Managing Partner is the rapidly changing world of technology. “We cannot ignore the impact technology has and will continue to have on our Firm and our clients. We must form a close partnership with technology to be truly effective guides for our clients,” states Thompson.

A proud graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration. She later attended the University of South Carolina, where she completed the Darla Moore School of Business’ Master of Accountancy (“MACC”) program. In addition, Thompson is a Certified Public Accountant in both North Carolina and South Carolina and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (“AICPA”) and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants (“NCACPA”).