Layoff Watch ’19: Interim CEO Brad Preber Addresses the Grant Thornton Layoff Rumors

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It’s Brad Preber’s first day on the job as interim CEO of Grant Thornton after now-former CEO and hero of the wastes Mike McGuire noped on up out of that seat. And boy did he have a shitstorm to deal with first thing.

Rumors of Grant Thornton layoffs started swirling earlier this week, and no sooner did the rumor mill start churning panic than we had confirmation of at least one office closure, more to come, and indeed some layoffs too.

Thursday afternoon, Preber held a firmwide call addressing the now-confirmed rumors and assuring employees this is merely a fat-trimming measure. One tipster tells us:

Just wanted to pass along some additional information on the GT layoffs. I’m not sure where the tipster from yesterday’s article got their layoff figures from, but the interim CEO, Brad Preber, conducted a state of the firm call today and said it was 230 professionals and 40 PPMDs that were let go, which comes out to roughly 3.5% of the workforce. Sounds like it was mostly cutting fat in ICS (internal client service, non-client facing people) plus people from certain advisory service lines that were deemed no longer strategic fits for the firm. The way it was communicated is that although revenue continues to grow and we were profitable this year, expenses have been growing at an even greater rate and there was a need to reign it in. Other factors were that the firm took a hit on a lawsuit in Kentucky and the public sector business was hurt by the government shutdown earlier this year. Take his word for what you will, but it seems less dire than how it initially sounded.

The 270 number is a far cry from the 600 Reddit was throwing around, but in line with what we’re hearing.

Another tipster tells us:

Hit Atlanta today, friend’s whole forensic team was sacked. Partners and all. [Said they] overheard the partners saying it could be 200-300 in total.

Multiple sources tell us the majority of cuts are coming from admin/non-client facing roles, though Forensic and Enterprise Technology Strategy and Innovation are also affected. Additionally, we’re told GT is looking to save a few bucks in other areas, such as relying on more virtual meetings rather than in-person ones.

The lawsuit hurting GT’s bottom line is Yung v. Grant Thornton, LLP, a fraud and gross professional negligence case in which courts handed down a $100 million judgment against GT for a tax shelter strategy marketed and sold to casino owner William Yung. The Kentucky Supreme Court upheld $80 million in punitive damages last December.

As far as we are aware from multiple sources, more layoffs could be on the way. Add to that, we’re told the firm is considering closing smaller offices to consolidate operations around some of its larger metro locales. If you believe the firm, this is more a proactive cost-cutting and belt-tightening measure than a panic and we have no reason to believe otherwise. We’re told the firm is helping separated staff find new jobs and in some cases honoring benefits.

Did you get sacked? Need a shoulder to cry on? Just wanna bitch about how GT did you dirty? Feel free to give us a shout by emailTwitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous. I promise I won’t write your phone number on a restroom wall in my favorite bar.

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