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PKF Francis Clark unveils leadership changes ahead of new chapter

15 November 2023
Left to right: Paul Crocker, Andrew Richards and Scott Bentley, of PKF Francis Clark (Photo: Steven Haywood)
Left to right: Paul Crocker, Andrew Richards and Scott Bentley, of PKF Francis Clark (Photo: Steven Haywood)

PKF Francis Clark has announced changes at the top amid the retirement of managing partner Andrew Richards, who departs at the end of March next year after 37 years with the accountancy and business advisory firm.

Paul Crocker has been elected to become chief executive officer while Scott Bentley becomes chief operations officer.

READ MORE: PKF Francis Clark named one of UK’s Best Workplaces for Wellbeing

The firm said both have been part of its management for some time and have worked in nearly every department so were "well placed to lead the firm into its next chapter".

PKF Francis Clark, which celebrated its centenary in 2019, has offices in Bristol, Exeter, Plymouth, Poole, Salisbury, Southampton, Taunton, Torquay and Truro.

Richards became managing partner in 2016, and during his seven years at the helm, the firm has grown from around 400 people to more than 900, with turnover more than doubling to over £60 million.

He said: "On the day I became managing partner, we rejoined the PKF international network and completed our merger with Dorset-based Princecroft Willis. One of my highlights of the past seven years has been seeing our Poole office flourish as an integral part of PKF Francis Clark. We have also steadily grown our presence in the Bristol market since opening our office in the city in 2019.

"What has remained constant is the friendly, approachable service and our team culture. The sort of people who are attracted to the firm are hard-working team players who care about their colleagues."

Richards added that he was most proud of leading the firm through the pandemic - the toughest time of his career.

"The firm has an amazing future. Over the next five to 10 years, our industry will go through a revolution with digitalisation and automation, and PKF Francis Clark is ideally placed to take advantage of these changes thanks to our breadth of specialist skills, our support teams and the strength of our advisory offering," he said.

Crocker, who joined the firm as a corporate finance partner in 2015, added: "Andrew has been instrumental in the growth of the firm as a partner, office head and managing partner, while preserving our friendly and supportive culture.

"A symbiotic relationship with our clients has always been key to PKF Francis Clark’s success."

Meanwhile, Bentley, formerly a corporate partner with Winter Rule, which merged with PKF Francis Clark in 2011, said: "It’s an exciting time for the firm, which Andrew has led to a very strong position.

"Embracing new technology and leveraging this to continue delivering outstanding services and solutions to clients will be a key priority.

"At the same time, we will continue to invest in and develop our people, providing great career opportunities here in the South West."

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Giles Gwinnett is a writer at The Business Magazine. He has been a journalist for more than 20 years and covered a vast array of topics at a range of media settings - in print and online. After his NCTJ newspaper training, he became a reporter in Hampshire before moving to a news agency in Gloucestershire. In recent years, he has been covering the financial markets along with company news for an investor-focused web portal. His many interests include politics, energy and the environment. He lives in Dorset.

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