Grant Thornton names David Hazels to lead Advisory Services, Renato Zanichelli to lead Tax Services


Firm also names Jim Peko as COO; Jamie Fowler as national leader for Transformation; and Nichole Jordan as leader for Central region

CHICAGO — Grant Thornton LLP has named David Hazels to take the helm of its Advisory Services practice, and Renato Zanichelli to lead its Tax Services practice.

The firm has also named Jim Peko as its chief operating officer (COO),while tapping Jamie Fowler for a new leadership role steering its transformation initiatives – including technology, innovation, knowledge management and strategic alliances. And it has selected Nichole Jordan as the new leader for its Central region.




New Advisory leader, coupled with new COO


David Hazels will become the national managing partner of Advisory Services. In this role, he will oversee the strategic direction and operations for a range of service areas – from growth and operations to risk and diligence, as well as public-sector capabilities.

Hazels joined Grant Thornton in 2002 and most recently served as the firm’s national managing partner of Risk Services. He has more than 25 years of public accounting and consulting experience and received a master’s of business administration degree from the University of Florida and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from William Jewell College.

“David brings a broad and varied background to a highly dynamic business,” said Brad Preber, CEO of Grant Thornton. “He has the acumen, prescience and leadership skills we need to meet fluid client needs in the decade ahead.”

In assuming his new post, Hazels frees his predecessor – Jim Peko – to become Grant Thornton’s COO. Peko will work directly with Grant Thornton CEO Preber to drive the firm’s performance across all its service lines and help its clients meet their changing audit, tax and advisory needs.

“Jim’s track-record of smart decisions across our firm will give him the perspective needed to make critical operational choices for both today and tomorrow. He is the perfect fit for this role,” added Preber.

Peko joined the firm in 2006 and has nearly 30 years of experience. He has served as a member of the firm’s Partnership Board and held numerous leadership roles. He received a master’s of business administration degree in finance from Fordham University and a bachelor’s degree in economics and accounting from St. Peter’s College.




Changing Tax leadership while adding Transformation role


Renato Zanichelli will assume the role of national managing partner of Tax Services – taking the reins on all growth and operational matters for the Tax service line.

Zanichelli joined the firm in 1994 and has more than 25 years of public accounting and industry experience. He most recently served as national managing partner of Tax Reporting & Advisory. He received a master’s degree in taxation from Northern Illinois University and a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University. He is a certified public accountant in Illinois.

“Renato is one of the tax industry’s most knowledgeable and accomplished professionals,” said Preber. “He is ideally positioned to lead our team of tax professionals and help our clients navigate a complex tax landscape that is in the midst of historic policy and technology changes.”

Zanichelli succeeds Jamie Fowler in his new role, allowing her to become the firm’s first national managing partner for Transformation. In her new role, Fowler will lead Grant Thornton in creating new products and services for its clients, while also steering the firm’s own technology infrastructure and internal transformation efforts.

“Transformation is the number one issue facing our clients – and the professional-services industry itself,” explained Preber. “Jamie has proven herself to be one of the industry’s most brilliant thinkers on issues like re-invention. That, combined with her operational excellence, make her the obvious choice to lead our firmwide transformation efforts and offerings.”

Fowler has held a number of leadership roles at Grant Thornton since joining the firm in 2003. Before her Tax leadership role, she was managing partner of the Atlantic Coast region. She is a certified public accountant in Virginia, Massachusetts, New York and Texas – and received a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Ouachita University.




A new Central region managing partner


Nichole Jordan will take over as regional managing partner of Grant Thornton’s Central region, leading thousands of experienced professionals providing audit, tax and advisory services to dynamic and growing businesses in scores of cities and states, including Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas.

Jordan has held a number of leadership roles at Grant Thornton since joining the firm in 2003. She most recently served as Grant Thornton’s national managing partner of Markets, Clients and Industry, overseeing the firm’s strategic client portfolio of more than 1,000 major client relationships, industry, regions, sales, market intelligence and analytics.

Prior to this role, Nichole was a member of the firm’s Partnership Board, while also serving as the national managing partner for Grant Thornton’s Banking and Securities industry practice, as well as the leader for its Markets and Industries practice in metropolitan New York and New England. She is a certified public accountant in Texas and received a bachelor’s of business administration degree in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin.

Jordan takes over the Central region role from Wally Gruenes, who will retire in August 2020 after a highly successful career at Grant Thornton.

“Building on Wally’s legacy in one of Grant Thornton’s most important market areas is a tall order – and we needed someone with a substantial track record,” said Preber. “Nichole is the ideal person for the challenge. Nobody is better at unifying service-line teams, industry expertise, and go-to-market sales and customer-experience teams. Her oversight of our strategic client portfolio has been one of our firm’s landmark successes.”



About Grant Thornton LLP

Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is one of America’s largest providers of audit and assurance, tax and advisory services — and the U.S. member firm of the Grant Thornton International Ltd global network. We go beyond the expected to make business more personal and build trust into every result. With revenues of $2.4 billion for the fiscal year that ended July 31, 2023, and almost 50 offices nationwide, Grant Thornton is a community of more than 9,000 problem solvers who value relationships and are ready to help organizations of all sizes and industries create more confident futures. Because, for us, how we serve matters as much as what we do. 


“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions.




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