Grant Thornton’s Charlotte Office Admits New Partner and Principal


Grant Thornton LLP admitted Luke Jones as Advisory principal, Lauren Spegal as Audit partner and promoted Niles Brown as Advisory managing director and Lou Ann Hutchison as People and Culture Leadership Services managing director in the firm’s Charlotte office. Across the firm, Grant Thornton admitted 47 new partners and principals and promoted 29 professionals to managing director.

Partners and principals admitted to the firm are proven leaders that have demonstrated excellence in embracing the firm’s values and helping clients achieve smart, quality growth in all aspects of their businesses. Noted for their exceptional contributions to Grant Thornton, these experienced professionals demonstrate a great ability to build relationships with clients and people at all levels of the firm. Managing directors are the highest-level employee position in the firm and are important members of the firm’s leadership team.

“Luke, Lauren, Niles and Lou Ann have consistently demonstrated long-term leadership in both the profession and their communities, and they have provided tremendous value to our clients, as well as to our firm,” said Dave Wedding, Grant Thornton’s Mid-South managing partner and chairman of the firm’s Partnership Board. “These promotions highlight Grant Thornton’s commitment to building a healthy, high-performance culture, which goes hand in hand with supporting the career development of our leaders at all levels across the firm.”

Jones joined the firm in 2005 and has more than 15 years of financial and accounting experience, including managing buy-side and sell-side due diligence assignments for strategic operators, private equity investors and potential funders; detailed quality of earnings, cash flow, operational business performance, balance sheet and working capital analysis; detailed financial modelling; and commercial analysis of business performance. He has developed extensive transaction, project and funding experience as an advisor to companies in the United States and Europe. Prior to being admitted as a principal, Luke served as a senior manager.

Luke is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, the Association of Accounting Technicians, and is an International Affiliate member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA.) He also serves on the leadership committee of ACG Charlotte Deal Crawl.

Spegal joined the firm in 2004 and has more than 12 years of experience providing assurance services to a wide array of companies primarily in the construction, real estate and hospitality industries. Her clients have included construction contractors, real estate developers, homebuilders, and hotel owners and operators. Prior to being admitted as partner, Spegal served as senior manager in the Audit Services practice.

Spegal is a certified public accountant (CPA), a member of the AICPA, the North Carolina Association of CPAs, Urban Land Institute (ULI) and CREW (Commercial Real Estate Women). She received a master’s degree in professional accountancy from the University of South Carolina and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida State University.

Brown joined the firm’s Audit Services practice in 2002 and returned in 2012 to the Advisory practice. He has more than 25 years of experience providing internal and external audit and consulting services to clients, with an emphasis on the financial services industry. In addition to leading audits spanning many topics, including comprehensive capital analysis and review reporting processes, anti-money laundering activities, compensation and employment practices, and third-party risk management, he has also performed consumer regulatory compliance engagements regarding fair lending activities as well as mortgage operations processes. Prior to being promoted to managing director, Brown served as a director.

Brown is a CPA in North Carolina, a Six Sigma Black Belt and a certified anti-money laundering specialist. He is also a member of the AICPA. Brown received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida A&M University.

Hutchison joined the firm in 2002 and has more than 30 years of experience in the professional services industry. Starting her career as an auditor with Arthur Andersen, and later moving into internal roles, she led the Audit Operations function in the Carolinas before assuming the role of Carolinas director of administration. Prior to being promoted to managing director, Hutchison served as the Southeast Region human resources director and later the executive director of People and Culture Operations and Analytics.

Hutchinson is a CPA, a member of the AICPA, the North Carolina Association of CPAs and the Society for Human Resources Management. She currently serves on the board of directors of the Cleveland County Tennis Association as treasurer. She received a bachelor’s degree in accounting from North Carolina State University.

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