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The BKD name is making way for FORVIS as the company's merger with DHG is completed.
SBJ file
The BKD name is making way for FORVIS as the company's merger with DHG is completed.

BKD completes merger to become FORVIS

Posted online

Springfield-based BKD LLP and Charlotte, North Carolina-based DHG today completed their merger, yielding a new company name.

FORVIS, a combination of the words forward and vision, as well as a reference to unnamed partners, is the new name of the combined public accounting company, according to a news release. The name was unveiled in April, following the merger announcement in February.

“This firm will be truly committed to the meaningful growth of our employees’ careers and ultimate success of our clients," said Tom Watson, FORVIS CEO and former BKD CEO, in the release. "Together, our combined teams will be infinitely stronger, empowered by an enhanced focus on the future.”

Former DHG CEO Matt Snow is now serving as chair of FORVIS.

With its $1.4 billion in combined revenue, FORVIS would rank No. 8 on Inside Public Accounting's list of the top U.S. firms. BKD ranked No. 14 on the 2021 list, with $758.1 million in revenue, and DHG was No. 17, with $504 million in revenue. Combined, FORVIS has more than 5,400 employees spanning 68 markets in 27 states, as well as the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands. BKD accounts for over 40 of the offices, and DHG brings expertise largely on the East Coast, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.

“We’ve always believed there’s a real opportunity for a different kind of professional services firm on the national stage – one that is defined by a high-touch approach to the client experience but is backed by robust resources that fuel a commitment to innovation and problem-solving," Snow said in the release.

As FORVIS gets underway, company officials said key goals include expanding into new markets, launching new services and creating employee value propositions.

With the merger, BKD’s Springfield leader, Gary Schafer, will remain managing partner of FORVIS' southern Missouri practice that also covers Branson and Joplin.

Danielle Cimato, chief brand officer at FORVIS, detailed the renaming process in an email to SBJ.

"It was a very comprehensive process with many interviews conducted with leaders and employees of both firms throughout," she said. "There were more than 20 leadership reviews and three focus groups conducted during the process. It was truly a team effort, and it was important to have this level of involvement and input."

Ultimately, officials considered more than 200 names, including combinations of BKD and DHG, Cimato said, declining to disclose examples. The companies additionally hired an unnamed New York City branding agency for the process that took about four months.

Moving forward, new signage will be installed in the coming months amid an advertising campaign and communications plan slated to start today, Cimato said.

"The excitement around the new name will help carry us forward as we look ahead to our next 100 years," she said. "Now that the name is announced, I look forward to working with our incredibly talented in-house teams to incorporate their feedback and ideas to bring FORVIS to life internally and in the market."

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