On Wednesday we reported that the latest entries into the accounting firm merger orgy were Wipfli and Eide Bailly. Today, the firms rolled out their trite little song and dance about client service, expanded geography and whatnot but we've been over that, so we'll spare you from repeating those details. What we do have is a few more details around that little rumor we spoke of on Wednesday about a former lead partner at Wipfli that left for Eide Bailly under tumultuous circumstances.
Greg Barber is currently the office managing partner of EB's Minneapolis office. He is also a former managing partner at Wipfli. He worked there for over 27 years, according to his LinkedIn profile. He left for Eide Bailly in 2007. The circumstances of which, sound pretty…um, not good, according to one of our sources, a person familiar with the situation at Wipfli at the time. The word is that Barber was forced out but our source declined to elaborate on the details. Fortunately, a second source got in touch with us and explained it this way:
Greg Barber, former managing partner at Wipfli, was shown the door because he wanted accountability and growth. He is a super bright guy. I can't see how [the merger] works for him long term. When I say he was burned, I'm not exaggerating. He sees no upside to this. It's like getting back together with the girl that kicked him the balls at prom.
Unfortunately, Mr. Barber has not responded to email or voicemail messages. I had several questions but was mostly interested in seeing what he thought of the nut shot at prom characterization. A Wipfli spokesperson has similarly ignored my emails, messages in bottles, morse code communiqués, and I just received a package with my carrier pigeon inside. Beheaded.
As for this situation at EBW, something tells me next year's holiday party is going to be really awkward.