Clients and Friends,
We have just experienced one of the most extraordinary years in recent history. COVID-19, social unrest, the U.S. political cycle, and economic uncertainty – among many other factors – not only tested our will as individuals but also as a society. During 2020, we all had to adapt how we lived and worked, and also needed to consider what the present challenges would mean for the long term.
At Stout, we believe our relentless approach – with our decades of success, solid operational foundation, and ability to navigate adverse conditions – allowed us to progress through the year with minimal setbacks. When our company went to a fully remote work environment in March, we knew it would be a while before we were back in the office. Our internal business standards and technology platforms allowed our colleagues to make this transition with ease, while in-person meetings, client lunches, and industry conferences all moved to a digital setting.
We never skipped a beat during the process, as we continued to exceed client expectations across our core lines of business. During this time, we also expanded into new geographies and practice areas. We are very pleased with the launching of our new office in London, as well as the addition of two practice groups: Financial and Tax Due Diligence and Intellectual Property Advisory & Transactions services. We also established a diversity, equity, and inclusion initiative that we will officially announce in the coming months.
Of course, none of these efforts would be possible without our outstanding professionals. We promoted a number of senior leaders last year, and also welcomed many other high-profile team members to the firm. In addition, three seasoned veterans joined our executive ranks: General Counsel Stephanie Clifford, Chief Human Resources Officer Destiny Thompson, and non-executive board member Alan Bowser. Their knowledge and leadership are essential to our growth as a firm, and I am excited to see all of our senior leaders advance the Stout name even further.
As we enter our 30th year as a firm, it is great to see what we have accomplished but even more exciting to see the possibilities ahead. This Annual Report highlights our impact over the past 12 months and the remarkable people who have helped make that happen. While 2020 gave us many obstacles, I believe our resilience shone through and we are well-prepared for the future. As always, I look forward to more success in 2021.