In April, the only flowers LPL Financial Treasurer Dan Krems thought about were in his garden.
One month later, Krems is chief financial officer at LandCare, the country's second-largest commercial landscaper -- and is paying close attention to color schemes for flower arrangements in front of office parks, hotels and shopping malls.
The job offer came "out of left field," Krems says, abetted by a close friend who heard LandCare was looking for an experienced CFO in San Diego with a track record that included rapid growth and building out size and scale.
Intrigued, Krems agreed to take a meeting, his unfamiliarity with commercial floral arrangements notwithstanding. His 11 years as a numbers man who helped build the nation's largest independent broker-dealer, it turns out, were exactly the kind of bona fides LandCare was looking for.
For his part, Krems says the job "provided an immediate opportunity to make a huge contribution to a business that was really attractive to me."
'HARD DECISION TO LEAVE'
"It was a hard decision for me to leave," Krems says. "I love LPL, and I only hope I gave as much to them as they gave to me. They were the best years of my life, and I benefitted incredibly from being there."
Krems also insists that his decision to leave was not tied to the departure of former president Robert Moore earlier this spring. "A unique opportunity came my way," the 38-year-old Krems says, "and it was the right one for me at this stage of my career."
Looking back on the past decade of explosive growth at LPL, Krems says he's proud that "the mission never wavered -- helping advisors provide objective advice to their clients."
Looking ahead, he thinks LPL's "business prospects are very bright. They've retained a lot of their essence with more capital and resources."
The giant IBD's biggest challenges, Krems says, will be navigating complex business and regulatory issues under a magnifying glass.
"In the early years, it seemed like no one was paying attention," he reflects. "Now it seems like everyone is paying attention to both the highs and the lows. But that's a reflection of LPL's success, and not any different from any other company in the same position."
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