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April 30, 2008

BDO Seidman forms corporate advisory practice

BDO Consulting, a division of US firm BDO Seidman, launched a new practice last month to expand its restructuring services. Offerings at BDO Consulting Corporate Advisors now include interim management, strategic and operational improvement, financial advisory and chief restructuring officer services.

Bill Lenhart, who heads the new practice, said the consulting service will allow the mid-tier firm to take on inter-management roles. “This is something we didn’t do in the past. Before we were advisers and we’d go in, recommend and so on and so forth but now we have people that can implement,” Lenhart said.

BDO Consulting Corporate Advisors has several offices across the US, with 40 staff in restructuring and 150 in consulting. Lenhart and managing directors Tony Wolf and Bob Starzyk have, between them, 64 years of relevant experience and they hope to help the practice grow further.

“We are looking to be more middle market-orientated, going after the companies probably in the range of $150 million to $1 billion, and I think there are going to be a lot of opportunities in that area. It’s good timing, it’s a great platform for the firm both domestically and internationally and I’m really looking to Tony and Bob to get out there and grow this thing,” Lenhart said.

Wolf joins BDO from consultants Glass & Associates, where he was a principal. He is a certified turnaround professional and his experience includes serving as a chief executive, interim chief executive and interim chief financial officer of various private companies, as well as serving as a financial adviser to numerous middle market companies across various industries including aerospace, telecommunications and oil and gas.

Starzyk was recruited by BDO from turnaround business Morris Anderson & Associates. He also served in executive levels of management in both privately held and publicly traded companies and is a certified turnaround professional with experience in industries such as manufacturing, distribution, high technology, transportation and service.

Lenhart said that with the recent credit crunch and the effect it is having on US companies, the new BDO Seidman practice will stand to benefit from the current growth in the restructuring market. In 2007, the default rate was the lowest it had been in 25 years and in the first quarter of 2008, the entire 2007 period was surpassed, Lenhart said.

BDO Seidman has singled out a number of organisations that it expects will be its main competitors. These include Alex Partners, Alvarez & Marsal, CRG, Getzler Heinrich, Executive Sounding Board and FFTI.

The practice has aligned itself with its foreign affiliate, UK firm BDO Stoy Hayward, which has been offering similar services for many years and also has an international platform. Lenhart said the two firms complement each other. “The world is a global economy and the ability to offer these services both in the US and in other parts of the world is really important,” he said.

Nicola Maher

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