In 1924, 26-year-old Alexander Richardson Grant founded Alexander Grant & Co. in Chicago. Grant had been a senior accountant with Ernst & Ernst (now Ernst & Young). He chose to leave the comfort of an established company to pursue his plan for public accounting. Alexander Grant was committed to providing services to mid-sized companies, a commitment the firm still holds today.
When Grant died in 1938, he was just 40 years old. Despite this unexpected loss, Alexander Grant & Co. survived the change in leadership and continued to grow nationally under the guidance of several dynamic and innovative chief executive officers. The 1950s and early 1960s were a time of both explosive growth and centralization for the firm. The national office in Chicago was established and net revenue exceeded $5 million in 1961.
During the mid-1960s, the firm’s leadership decided it was the ideal time to expand internationally. With Wallace E. Olson at the helm, in 1969, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with firms from Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom to establish the organization of Alexander Grant Tansley Witt. This organization operated successfully for 10 years.
By 1980, Alexander Grant & Co. joined with 49 other accounting firms, including Thornton Baker in the UK, a firm with similar qualities, clients, personnel numbers and values, to form a global organization, Grant Thornton International (GTI). Following its merger with Denver-based Fox & Co. in 1985, Alexander Grant & Co. became the ninth largest accounting firm in the U.S., behind that era’s cadre of “Big Eight” firms.
In 1986, Alexander Grant & Co. changed its name to Grant Thornton, reflecting its affiliation with the United Kingdom firm Thornton Baker, which also changed its name to Grant Thornton.
Today, Grant Thornton LLP is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the six global accounting, tax and advisory organizations. Through member firms in more than 100 countries, including 50 offices in the United States, the partners and employees of Grant Thornton International Ltd member firms provide personalized attention and the highest quality service to public and private clients around the globe.