BKD Selects Next Chief Operating Officer

News Release Oct 20, 2020

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Abe Cole has been selected as BKD CPAs & Advisors’ next chief operating officer (COO). Cole fills this position after the retirement of former AICPA chair and BKD COO Eric Hansen.

Cole will begin to transition into this role right away, initially focusing on select issues while he continues to serve as the regional managing partner (RMP) of the firm’s eight-state North Region, which includes Utah, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin and Illinois, until his duties can be transitioned to a successor.

"The COO plays a critical role in BKD’s success, with the responsibility of promoting firmwide operational excellence, which is one of the hallmarks that set BKD apart,” said CEO-elect Tom Watson. “Abe’s skill set is perfectly suited to keep us on top of our game when it comes to taking care of our business."

Cole said he looks forward to focusing on innovative solutions to the firm’s current and future challenges. “The success I have had in my career has been a team effort, and I’m thrilled to collaborate with our firmwide team in this next chapter,” Cole said.

Watson points to Cole’s entrepreneurial spirit and passion to grow wisely as critical components in providing the high level of strategic leadership BKD needs to move into the future. “Not only does Abe have a tremendous amount of demonstrated success from his time as a client services partner, managing partner (MP) and his tenure as an RMP, but he also has been a key contributor in many of our operational areas, including serving on our firmwide IT Governance Committee,” said Watson.

“Abe has an impressive track record as a builder. He has led growth in our firm by using his skills to further develop BKD practices and offered mentorship that has led many BKDers to leadership positions within our firm,” said CEO Ted Dickman.

Prior to his role as RMP, Cole served as MP of the Kansas City, Mo.; Des Moines, Iowa; and Madison, Wis., offices, where he was responsible for operations and support of more than 360 partners, client service staff and administrative team members. Since joining BKD CPAs & Advisors in 1996, Cole has helped grow and develop the firm’s higher education and insurance practices. He continues to serve the firm as a national resource regarding technical matters and business development efforts affecting these industries. He is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and Missouri Society of CPAs. Cole is a 1994 graduate of Missouri State University with a B.S. degree in accounting.

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