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BKD names Wanamaker successor

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Springfield-based accounting firm BKD LLP chose a successor for local Managing Partner John Wanamaker.

Wanamaker is scheduled to retire at the end of May, when Springfield partner Gary Schafer will take over his position. Wanamaker has led BKD’s southern Missouri practice unit with offices in Springfield, Branson and Joplin since 2004, according to a news release.

“It’s always bittersweet when accomplished and knowledgeable leaders like John retire, but the process is made much easier when a talented, capable person like Gary steps up to the plate,” BKD CEO Ted Dickman said in the release.

Wanamaker led the local practice in 2009, when BKD moved across the street from Hammons Tower into its current 910 St. Louis St. headquarters. According to his LinkedIn profile, Wanamaker has worked at BKD for 34 years.

In the community, Wanamaker has been involved with economic development efforts through the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and also has served as chairman for the chamber board. Other work includes board positions for the Missouri Higher Education Partnership, the city’s Enhanced Enterprise Zone and the Ozark Health Advocacy Foundation.

Springfield Business Journal honored Wanamaker in 2012 as one of its Men of the Year, in 2013 as top local executive for the Dynamic Dozen awards and in 2015 as legacy adviser for the Trusted Advisers awards.

Schafer, who has nearly 22 years of experience at BKD, has served as a leader of BKD’s commercial audit practice in southwest Missouri, as well as a member of the company’s national manufacturing and distribution group, according to the release.

“His leadership experience, dedication to unmatched client service and passion for sponsoring our young professionals make him the person to take our SOMO team to new heights of success,” Wanamaker said in the release.

BKD ranked 12th on Inside Public Accounting’s 2017 list of the top U.S. accounting firms with 2016 revenue of $564.4 million. BKD posted 2017 revenue of $564 million from operations in 36 offices and 16 states, according to SBJ reporting.

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