Alvarez & Marsal, or “A&M”, a global leader in business performance improvement services formed by famed corporate turnaround experts Tony Alvarez and Bryan Marsal in New York City, is transforming itself and appears to be making Denver a core part of its growth strategy. The potential upside for the region is great.
A&M’s culture is spurring significant growth. For example, A&M is an extrapreneurial firm: in addition to employing exceptional skills to serve clients, it coordinates expertise across organizations, fields, and functions to create solutions. Two new leaders of A&M’s Denver practices, Heather Elzi, Senior Director in Tax, and Brennan Rittenhouse, Managing Director in Compensation & Benefits, describe a similarly extrapreneurial organizational culture – one that isn’t territorial or bound by silos, but in which employees are rewarded for collaboration across offices and service lines to provide a complete product to its clients. This benefits A&M as it has been assembling complementary services, such as tax and compensation and benefits, in-house and such teaming facilitates sales and services.
Additionally, A&M has a reputation for valuing intrapreneurism (entrepreneurism within an organization) and meritocracy (rewarding achievements), which Heather and Brennan confirmed is true. Both values drive innovation and excellence. Programs such as A&M’s Innovation Challenge enable the firm to adapt and be responsive.
According to Heather and Brennan, this growth has led to A&M’s strategic investment in Denver. Building out service corps in lower cost markets like Denver enables the firm to establish and maintain bases in key transaction markets and start-up capitals like New York and Silicon Valley inexpensively.
A&M is expanding its stable of services by acquiring and hiring top talent. You might remember Brennan Rittenhouse from Compensation & Benefits Solutions, a Denver based C&B services firm where he had been a Managing Director. Compensation & Benefits Solutions was formed in 2007 by John Schultz and Kim Schultz. By 2017, it had become a potent, reputable name in C&B services. Wanting to expand its C&B capabilities and presence in Denver, A&M acquired Compensation & Benefits Solutions that year.
Since then, A&M has been building out its Tax practice in Denver, hiring ASC 740 expert, Heather Elzi, an Ernst & Young LLP alumna, to lead the charge in augmenting the tax practice. Heather has been aggressively building out her team by hiring other local tax experts, such as State and Local Tax pro Jennifer Shloss.
Consistent with its intrapreneurial spirit, A&M empowers its people to do what they do best. According to Brennan, when A&M acquired Compensation & Benefits Solution, it acknowledged what the C&B team had been doing was working so directed them to continue doing the same. As such, not much has changed in how the team operates, but their access to referrals, resources, clients, and services has expanded, supercharging their growth.
What is the potential upside for the region? First, having an immediately recognizable brand enhances the region’s reputation. Second, A&M brings high caliber service options for the start-up and new-tech corridor running from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins. Third, it increases the region’s credibility as a world class business center, attracting more businesses, investment, and expertise. Fourth, A&M is hiring!
Both Heather and Brennan said they have an abundance of work. If you’re seeking new opportunities and might be interested, keep the following in mind. The Denver office is building out its practice, so seeking seasoned professionals focused on delivering exceptional services. A&M is not a CPA firm, so not bound by auditor independence or other CPA firm-specific rules. A&M’s culture values initiative, drive, new ideas, and best in class services. Currently, the focus of its services is largely transactions, restructuring, and performance improvement.
Ashby Walters is Executive Director and cofounder of TaxForward and Future Tax Leaders. She has served as head of or leader in tax for Peet’s Coffee, Inc., Quizno’s, Staples, Dish Network, and other companies. Over her 20-plus year career, Ashby has helped organizations from Fortune 200 companies to start-ups, save more than $200 million in cash taxes, millions in G&A, and thousands of production hours collectively.