Vicken Haleblian To Be New CEO and Managing Partner; Philip Holthouse To Assume Newly Created Chairmanship Position
HCVT, Los Angeles’ largest locally based public accounting firm and the 31st largest firm nationally, is making leadership changes, firm officials announced today. The changes, which will be effective May 1, include naming Vicken Haleblian CEO and managing partner, while Philip Holthouse, one of the founders and current managing partner will assume the newly created role of chairman.
In 1991, Holthouse and fellow partners Jim Carlin and John Van Trigt founded HCVT. As HCVT’s first chairman, Holthouse will concentrate on maintaining relationships with the firm’s strategic clients, leading client engagements, and mentoring current and emerging firm leaders, while Haleblian will develop and set firm strategy.
Today, Haleblian is a senior tax partner and heads the firm’s media and entertainment industry group. He started his public accounting career at Arthur Andersen and joined HCVT in 2005, after a brief stint with a Big Four firm, to help establish the firm’s Pasadena office.
HCVT is a firm with more than 700 employees and partners and more than $230 million in annual revenue. For 18 consecutive years, Inside Public Accounting has named HCVT a “Best of the Best” firm, an honor reserved for 50 public accounting firms across North America, which reflects HCVT’s strong management, sustained growth, and strategic acumen.
Haleblian becomes HCVT’s fifth CEO and managing partner during a time of steady growth for the firm. In addition to maintaining the firm’s financial success, he’ll be laser-focused on recruiting and developing the next generation of public accounting leaders.
“One of our biggest challenges as an industry is the unprecedented talent crisis, which makes recruiting and retaining exceptional employees critical,” said Haleblian. “To date, we’ve taken a thoughtful approach to hiring and expansion, but as we evaluated our long-range plans, we knew we needed a steadying, experienced hand to guide our emerging leaders. Phil will concentrate on this as chairman, and I look forward to working shoulder-to-shoulder with him in his new role as we work together to move our firm forward.”
Both Haleblian and Holthouse are quick to point out that the firm’s ongoing growth will be driven by opportunity rather than acquisition.
“We have enjoyed strong, organic growth without making large-scale acquisitions, which is unusual in our industry,” said Holthouse. “We’ve accomplished this by creating an employee-centric culture, which stresses teamwork and professional development. We try to prioritize quality over size. Vicken is a product of these principles and will embrace them as he guides the firm and seeks new, complementary approaches to growth.”
Acquisitions trigger culture shifts, Haleblian added, causing the acquirer to invest valuable time and energy on those issues. “Instead, at HCVT, we keep our eyes trained on fundamental issues like recruiting, retaining and developing the best talent, all while expending our energy on what matters most—serving our clients and developing strategies that help them accomplish their goals.”
With an increasingly complex and rapidly changing tax landscape, addressing the concerns of the firm’s high-net-worth clientele is particularly challenging. By prioritizing technical skill development and client service, HCVT gives its deep bench of tax professionals an edge when it comes to client satisfaction and employee experience.
“Our firm is uniquely positioned to help clients navigate the most complicated business issues,” said Haleblian. “HCVT’s unique combination of homegrown, national and Big Four talent, coupled with a client-centric approach that’s normally found at smaller, boutique firms, is our differentiator. Our service model enables us to be much more than just tax, audit, M&A, business management, or valuation professionals for our clients. They rely upon us to guide them on all of their financial matters.”
Today, 45% of the firm’s partners and principals previously worked at a Big Four firm—including Haleblian. But, plenty of the firm’s homegrown talent and lateral recruits from national firms have built fulfilling and challenging careers at HCVT that, from a client engagement perspective, are comparable to the employee experience in a Big Four or national firm.
“New hires are often surprised by the quality and complexity of our client base, but relish the opportunity to grow professionally,” said Holthouse. “Whether it’s a private equity fund, family office, real estate developer, high-profile individual, or film studio, our client engagements are interesting and diverse.”
According to Holthouse, HCVT’s employee success can be attributed to the firm’s emphasis on professional development and investment in top-notch external training programs that rival those offered at national firms.
When reflecting upon his career, Haleblian knows that the role he’s stepping into is a special opportunity with a different kind of firm. “Achieving partnership status is a testament to hard work and technical skill, no matter which accounting firm you work for,” he said. “But what stood out—and still stands out—for me at HCVT is this firm’s inclusiveness, diversity, and collegiality. Our founders and partners recognize the importance of these qualities and baked them into our culture. There are no molds to fit into or limits to what you can achieve here. Our people can count on leadership to support and invest in them.”
For more information, contact:
Cheryl Foster, Chief Growth Officer
HCVT is the largest, Los Angeles-based public accounting firm and the 31st largest firm nationally. Founded in 1991, HCVT provides tax, business management, M&A and valuation services to public and closely held companies; high-net-worth individuals and families and their related entities; and family offices. The firm also provides audit and assurance services to privately held companies and employee benefit plan sponsors.
Known for its deep technical skills and ability to address the most complex tax issues associated with partnerships and pass-through entities, HCVT serves clients across a number of industries, including: private equity, real estate, media and entertainment, manufacturing, retail and distribution, technology, healthcare and life sciences, nonprofit organizations, affordable housing and professional services firms.
With more than 700 team members, which include more than 100 partners and principals, HCVT serves clients from 13 offices. Including its headquarters in West Los Angeles, HCVT has nine locations in Southern California (Camarillo, Encino, Glendale, Irvine, Long Beach, Monrovia, Pasadena, and Westlake Village); and offices in Walnut Creek, California; Fort Worth, Texas; Park City, Utah and Phoenix, Arizona. The firm’s national and global reach is extended by its affiliation with Moore North America, Inc. (MNA) and Moore Global Network Limited, an independent and global accountancy and business advisory network of CPA and financial services firms located throughout the United States and around the globe. Visit hcvt.com, to learn more.