John Griesbeck Transitions Out of Managing Partner Role

After months of deliberate planning, we’re excited to announce a few changes at RBG in the new year. John Griesbeck, CPA, will transition out of the role of managing partner at RBG effective January 1, 2020. Skeet Haag will be his successor.

John joined the firm in 1975 and has held the position of managing partner 15 years. Under his leadership, the firm experienced significant growth and success. He will remain a partner at the firm and is happy to have more time to focus on the success of his clients. 

Recently, John provided an interview to discuss the transition and his career.

Q: At the beginning of your career, what inspired you to choose accounting?
A: Accounting runs in my family; my grandfather, father, and three older brothers were all CPAs. During college, my finance and accounting courses lent knowledge to my career path. I also worked part-time at RBG, which gave me an opportunity to apply the knowledge I gained. It seemed natural to take advantage of the opportunity I had in public accounting.

Q: Looking back at your career, knowing what you know now, is there anything that you would do differently?
A: I would have changed some of my courses while I was in college. Knowing what I know now, I would have taken more marketing and management courses. Also, I would have read more about leadership and managing a professional services firm.

Q: What is the biggest change RBG went through while you were Managing Partner? 
A: I am proud to say that the biggest change has been the amount of women in the profession and in our firm. Women make up half of our employees, 25% of our partners, and many of our clients are owned or led by women. These trends will only increase in the future.

Q: What is the biggest challenge that RBG faces in the future?
A: I think the biggest challenge our firm faces in the future is continuing to retain the best and brightest professional staff. Many of the challenges our firm will face – automation/artificial intelligence, partner succession, increasing competition – cannot be met without great talent. That’s why people have always been our number one priority.

Q: What was your favorite part of being the firm’s managing partner?
A: I’ve always loved watching younger generations learn and grow into outstanding practitioners. As managing partner, I had a window into the entire firm and could observe team members develop throughout the firm. It is very satisfying to give these folks opportunities and see them step up to meet any challenge that comes along.

Q: How would you describe the legacy that you leave behind?
A: At RBG, we speak often of legacy – after all, we have been in business for more than 100 years. I hope that what I leave behind is an updated, yet similar, sense of legacy that our firm  has always lived by – serving clients to the best of our abilities, treating people the way any of us would want and expect to be treated, and giving back to the community that has supported us generation after generation. 

Q: What was the hardest part of being Managing Partner, over the years?
A: Managing people can be tricky. All are unique, unpredictable, and usually motivated by a variety of factors. (Did I just describe myself?) But our most important asset is people and we work hard every day to be a great place to work and serve clients.

Q: What advice do you have for the new Managing Partner, Skeet?
A: I’d like to remind Skeet to always LEAD:
Listen to all stakeholders – sometimes the best ideas come from unexpected sources.
Embrace change – there is no status quo.
Admit your mistakes – humble people are much easier to work with.
Demand more of yourself than anyone else.

John has always been a hard-working, determined individual. His leadership proved that when you apply yourself, you will be rewarded with success and growth. The firm is full of gratitude for all the things John accomplished during his tenure as Managing Partner. We look forward to the future with him as Partner.

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