Richard Kleiner is Managing Partner and CEO at Gerald Edelman. Richard qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1983 and became a Partner in 1986. Richard has recently passed the examinations of the Institute of Chartered Accountants to become licensed to offer Probate Administration services. Throughout his impressive career, Richard's main areas of focus have been strategic management, corporate finance and private equity, and he holds several non-executive board member positions for companies in various sectors ranging from investment advisers and technology companies to those in the retail, hospitality, business services and professional services sectors.
You have had an impressive career with Gerald Edelman, what do you think the benefits are for sticking with the same firm?
Committing to the same business gives you the opportunity to develop a niche and reach a position of increasing influence to shape the future of the firm - both in terms of business development and internal processes. This is because you get to really understand the workings of the business and are able to build a reputation of dependability, allowing you to gain trust, progress and influence future decisions.
On day one, you never know what lies ahead of you. When did you realise that you wanted to be a Partner?
I have always been driven and ambitious, so it is no surprise that from the very first day I started work in 1978, I knew I wanted to become a Partner.
How do Gerald Edelman differentiate themselves in the market?
We do not refer to ourselves as accountants. We find this too limiting. Instead, we have a strategy to become the first port of call for any business or client and therefore invite businesses to “ask us anything”.
How big is the partnership team and what advice would you give to anyone who wants to join the partnership?
The Partnership team will shortly comprise 16+ Partners. Anyone wanting to join the firm as a Partner - whether an internal member of the team or externally - needs to show dynamism, passion, enthusiasm and an ability to have a positive impact through leadership.
How would the Partnership group describe you?
You’d better ask other Partners! Honestly, I think they would say I am extremely driven and responsive. I am always looking at how we can improve and develop as a business; I do not like to stand still.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
To move into Corporate Finance at a much earlier age. I truly enjoy being involved in real deal-making, particularly structuring joint ventures and alliances and helping to prepare businesses for sale.
When you interview someone for your organisation, what is the first thing you notice about a person and what does it tell you?
How many questions and challenges they have for the firm. This is perhaps the most important thing for me, I want people that work at Gerald Edelman to be as passionate and ambitious about the business as I am. I am also mindful that an interview is a dual process; we have to sell the firm, perhaps even more significantly than the interviewee has to sell themselves.
What challenges, personally or professionally, do you think the next generation face?
IT is one of the biggest challenges the next generation must face. They need to gain as much experience as possible, as quickly as possible. IT is already taking over many of the manual tasks that used to be undertaken by humans.
When you stepped from Partner to Managing Partner/ CEO, what challenges did you personally face?
One of the biggest challenges I faced was uniting the team and ensuring that our internal management information was fit for purpose.
Thanks for your time Richard. One final question for our readers, what do you like to do to unwind outside of work?
Cooking and drinking wine.