Pearce steps down as Smith & Williamson split top roles

THE CHAIRMAN and chief executive role has been split at Smith & Williamson, with long-serving boss Gareth Pearce to step down this week.

David Cobb and Kevin Stopps will take the newly-created co-chief executive posts at the top ten firm from Friday. Andrew Sykes becomes chairman of the board.

Pearce retires after 27 years with the accounting and investment group, joining in 1986 as head of corporate finance. He took on the chairman role in 2000. The firm has grown its income to £186m from £27.5m since he took on the MD role in 1995. He was also a long-serving member of the ICAEW’s council.

Cobb and Stopps have more than 50 years’ experience with the firm; Cobb serving as head of investment management and banking in 2007 and Stopps looking after tax and business service since 2010. The firm describes the dual appointment as fitting the “complementary nature of the firm’s broad range of services”

Sykes, who will have a non-executive role and who has been on the board for nine years – including five years as deputy chairman – said: “The long-term success of Smith & Williamson is closely linked to the synergies between our service lines and the new management structure reflects the balance of emphasis we maintain between them.”

He added: “We are indebted to Gareth for his many years of hard work and commitment to building the business. He leaves us with a very strong legacy on which to build. These are exciting times in the fields of both accountancy and investment. With a firm footing in both areas, we believe there are excellent opportunities ahead for Smith & Williamson.”

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