Elliott Davis Selects Tom Leahey to Expand M&A Advisory Practice in Atlanta

By Vince Guerra
  • Jan 30, 2023

Elliott Davis has grown in its 100-year history from a small firm focused on local textile manufacturers to a top 50 public accounting and advisory firm, providing a full array of services to customers that range from pre-revenue startups to multi-billion-dollar businesses.As the Greenville, SC based firm seeks to expand its Mergers & Acquisitions practice, the firm has welcomed Tom Leahey to help lead this growth. 


Based in Atlanta, Tom and his team seekto create value for customers at every stage of business. In his role with the firm, Tom brings multi-faceted experiencefrom hiscareer in corporate finance that has spanned more than three decades. This wealth of experienceallows him to see M&A from a multitude of perspectives and deliver practicaltransactional and transformational finance solutions to customers.


Tom began his career working for large money-center banks, including Wachovia and Fleet Financial Group. Afterwards, he joined The Maxim Group where he led the finance function through transactions totaling $2 billion, including 29 acquisitions, and a New York Stock Exchange listing. Tom joined Atlanta based STI Knowledge in 2000 as CFO and a member of its board. During his tenure, STI Knowledge was named to Inc. Magazine’s 500 fastest growing private companies from 2000 to 2002. Tom helped facilitate the sale of a majority interest in 2003. 


In 2004, Tom joined Newport Beach, California based NetworkD as CFO. NetworkD provides infrastructure management software and managed services and operates out of 22 offices in 9 countries. During Tom’s tenure as CFO, NetworkD developed into one of the world’s largest independent providers of infrastructure management software and related services. He led the full equity sale in 2008. Tom joined the NYC based Hedge Fund, Galtere International Fund, in 2008 as director of investor relations and business development. Galtere, a leading global macro hedge fund, invests thematically across a broad spectrum of asset classes including commodities, currencies, fixed income and international equities. Tom assisted in the creation of a private equity vehicle which facilitated investment in infrastructure projects in developing economies, including Brazil and Uruguay. In this capacity, he worked with sovereign wealth funds, fund of funds, pensions, and foundations. In 2013, Tom started Latitude Growth Partners to help companies manage periods of explosive growth and strategic inflection points. Latitude assistedwith M&A activity, capital raising, strategic refinement, and international expansion. He then spent 8 years as a Principal and Practice Leader of its Strategic Growth Advisory practice at Windham Brannonbefore joining Elliott Davis in 2022.


With such a deep well of experience, it’s no surprise why Elliott Davis chose Tom to lead the expansion of their M&A Advisory Practice inAtlanta, but what attracted Tom to the firm? The ability to lead the build-out of the transformational side of the practice and help organizations in every aspect of the M&A process, both on the buy-side and the sell-side.


“I was a CFO for about 25 years for a series of public and PE backed companies - all extremely strategic and acquisitive -before I began consulting in 2014 to boards, the C level and professional sources of capitalsuch as private equity and debt providers. Seeing the world from both the inside of a company and as a consultant is unique.”


Tom’saddition has enabled Elliott Davis to develop anAtlantabased team of Big 4,technical experts, and industry finance executives which complements an M&Apracticethat providestransaction support and transformational finance.


Transformational finance brings finance and the Chief Financial Officer to the forefront to drive growth, strategy andbuy-sell transactions.According to Mr. Leahey, transformational finance“is an investment in financial reporting, analytical support, comprehensive forecasting, and situational analysis (what happens if…). All of this supportsa strategic plan. We help companies understand current state – what is possible - and share in the communication to boards, possible buyers, sources of capital and other stakeholders.”In his experience, “many middle market companies lack the financial talent, resources, or systems to get to the next level. This prevents potential capital raises, an acquisition, a sale, or the management of explosive growth. Also, many investors like private equity firms and serial acquirers do not have the insight into portfolio companies to develop strategic plans or to plan an exit.”Better financial processes provideCFOswith accurate, relevant, and timely data which allows them to make better decisions whether they are prepping for a transaction or just looking to organically grow.


While Tom is excited about the opportunity with Elliott Davis, he says his best decision ever was marrying his college sweetheart, Aileen 35 years ago. With their four children now grown, Tom and Aileen enjoy spending time at their home away from home in Savannah where Tom enjoys golfing and biking. His work has also opened doors for personal travel including trips to Russia, Ukraine, Brazil, and United Arab Emirates to name few.


Combining the resources of Elliott Davis with Tom’s expertise and that of his team, organizations now have a trusted partner to help them achieve their goals.