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Partners defect to rival amidst succession issues

Michael Masterman
06 July 2015 — 1 minute read

Frustration around succession issues in one mid-tier Melbourne firm has seen two partners defect to a second-tier rival.

Sash Nikolovski and Mark Forte have left McLean Delmo Bentleys for local rival Wilson Pateras.

Speaking to sister publication AccountantsDaily, Mr Nikolovski cited frustration around the lack of succession planning in his previous firm as a catalyst for the move.


“It was largely due to the senior people in my previous organisation – the hierarchy there was very stagnant in terms of progression and the ownership," he said.

“It was purely a case of moving to an organisation that is more dynamic and has got different scope in terms of their ownership structure and progression for their senior people."

While Mr Nikolovski admitted the smaller size of Wilson Pateras allows for more flexibility in ownership structure, he believes some mid-tiers are disadvantaging themselves by showing a reluctance to progress.

“I think it’s probably on a case-by-case basis – I think it’s just that the owners in that particular firm, my previous firm, were reluctant to move with the times and let go of the ownership structure that exists there at the moment,” he said.

Nick Pateras, founding partner of Wilson Pateras, welcomed both Mr Nikolovski and Mr Forte to the firm, declaring their addition as an important step in the firm’s growth path.

With this growth in mind, Mr Pateras said he believes succession is of the utmost importance for all firms, particularly in the current evolving professional environment.

“We are not having succession for the purpose of disappearing; it's succession with the purpose of evolving the business,” he said.

“It’s not succession due to necessity, but succession by choice.

“Where Sash [Nikolovski] has previously come from, the managing partner is 70 years old – if he is not thinking about succession now he is never going to. The reality is Chris is 49 and I’m 33 and we are thinking about succession," Mr Pateras said.

"When I say we are thinking about succession it’s to say that we think the success of the business is not built around two individuals; it’s built around a group of senior individuals who are all performing a similar function."

Partners defect to rival amidst succession issues
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