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BKD promotes regional partner to COO

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Springfield-based BKD LLP promoted the firm's northern regional managing partner to succeed its recently retired chief operating officer.

Abe Cole, the accounting firm's leader for its eight-state northern region, is taking over for Eric Hansen, according to a news release.

BKD spokesperson Greg Cole said Hansen retired May 31. Working out of the national office in Springfield, Hansen held the COO role for nearly 12 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Greg Cole said Abe Cole plans to move to Springfield next year after his son graduates from high school. In the interim, he intends to commute between Kansas City and Springfield, Greg Cole said, noting he would maintain his regional managing partner role until his successor is secured. A search process is currently underway.

"The COO plays a critical role in BKD’s success, with the responsibility of promoting firmwide operational excellence, which is one of the hallmarks that set BKD apart,” said CEO-elect Tom Watson, in the release. “Abe’s skill set is perfectly suited to keep us on top of our game when it comes to taking care of our business."

Abe Cole has been a BKD employee since 1996, serving as managing partner of the company’s Kansas City, Des Moines, Iowa, and Madison, Wisconsin, offices before taking on the northern regional leadership role.

It's the second high-level leadership change for BKD announced in as many months. Watson is slated to take over as CEO for the retiring Ted Dickman in June 2021. BKD reported $694.9 million in net revenue to rank No. 15 on Inside Public Accounting’s list this year of the top U.S. firms, according to past reporting.

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