LAURENCE SACKER has been named as the new heir apparent at UHY Hacker Young, Accountancy Age can reveal.
Currently corporate finance partner at the firm, Sacker will formally take over from Ladislav Hornan’s successful 21-year reign on 1 May 2016.
Sacker boasts particular expertise in advising clients on raising equity and debt finance via stock market listings and M&A deals. He has been instrumental in leading robust growth in UHY Hacker Young’s AIM offering and holds the corporate finance designation from ICAEW in recognition of his skills and is also a member of the Academy of Experts.
“The firm has grown considerably in the 21 years Ladsilav has been leading it and I hope to carry on with that growth,” says Sacker.
“While there’s not a lot more to grow in the UK, as we now have 27 offices, there are probably a couple of gaps such as Leeds and somewhere in the South West. But we just added Belfast this year, so we’re pretty much there.”
Growing the brand abroad
With such big boots to fill given Ladislav Hornan’s two decades-long stint at the helm, Sacker aims to continue developing client services and driving further growth.
This will include “growing the brand abroad” by expanding its international network of over 300 offices in 90 countries.
The firm has developed a thriving number of London-based country desks covering China, the Gulf, India, Israel, the CIS and Malaysia to target inward investment to the UK. This includes five Mandarin speakers – “pretty good for a firm of this size”.
Such a focus continues to deliver a number of lucrative “spin offs” such as personal tax planning, cloud accounting and audit, as well as numerous corporate finance strands.
Another key international focus for the firm is Africa, especially countries in the west such as Ghana as well as the continent’s economic Titan, South Africa.
Closer to home, Sacker stresses that its UK sector groups such as academies, automotive hotels, restaurants, natural resources, are all key targets ripe for further expansion. It is already beefing up its technology and cloud accounting offering – “a big growth area” – and has specifically taken on a new recruit to service that desire.
“There’s nothing revolutionary afoot – were an accounting firm – but we will be making sure the clients continue to get what they want awhile we simultaneously increase our client base.”
Client-wise, the firm will be looking to further “move up the food chain” and is on look-out for bigger clients.
A key challenge is “finding and retaining good staff” as there is “such pressures in the market place at moment”. Despite this, the firm has been “growing very successfully in the last few months”, “winning more tenders” and picking up plenty of audit work from other firms dropping their audit registrations.
Meanwhile, Hornan, who joined UHY in 1974 and made partner in 1980, will stay on at the firm to take on a business development role, while remaining on the board of its international network.
The former refugee who once, briefly, was in charge of British boxing in the 1990s, took over as managing partner in 1995, when there were just nine offices generating £12.6m. As well as setting up the Russia, China and Gulf desks in the firm’s UK offices, he was also twice the chairman of UHY’s international network.
When quizzed about his new heir, Hornan said Sacker was the “ideal choice to continue to drive UHY Hacker Young forward given his extensive experience with the firm and his wide-ranging expertise as an adviser to businesses of all sizes across diverse industry sectors.”
“The executive is in a stronger position than ever, and I’m very much looking forward to continuing to support UHY in its growth as part of my future role in business development at the firm.”
UHY Hacker Young in numbers
Staff: 526 and 103 partners
Fee income: £52.6m
Bluffer’s guide: The firm has art work from British graffiti street artists Banksy and PureEvil hanging in its St Katherine’s Dock corporate HQ.
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