Grant Thornton’s Dallas Office Expands with Seven New Partners and Managing Directors


Grant Thornton LLP admitted Rob Acuff as Audit partner, Chris Franklin as Audit partner and promoted Chris Melella to Strategy & Performance Improvement managing director and Kyle Turner to Corporate Finance managing director in the firm’s Dallas office. Across the firm, Grant Thornton admitted 39 new partners and principals, and promoted 28 professionals to managing director.

Partners, principals and managing directors excel in helping clients achieve smart, quality growth in all aspects of their businesses. Noted for their exceptional contributions to Grant Thornton, these professionals have an extraordinary ability to lead and build relationships with clients and people at all levels of the firm.

“Rob, Chris, Chris, and Kyle have proven themselves as leaders to our clients, colleagues, the community and the profession,” said Wally Gruenes, Grant Thornton’s Central regional managing partner. “We recognize their tremendous accomplishments and thank them for their commitment to helping build our high-performance culture as we continue to grow in the Dallas marketplace.”

Rob Acuff joined the firm in 2006 and has 12 years of experience in public accounting. His client experience includes assurance and attest engagements mainly in the financial services industry. He has assisted on consulting and advisory engagements for companies within both the public and private sector. Prior to being admitted as a partner, Acuff served as a senior manager in the Audit Services practice.

Acuff is a certified public accountant (CPA) in North Carolina and Texas and a member of the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). He received a bachelor’s degree from Appalachian State University. 

Chris Franklin has more than 11 years of experience in audit for both public and private companies for the energy, retail and transportation industries, as well as manufacturers and distributors of consumer and industrial products. He has led teams with internal control audits, initial public offerings, capital market offerings, comfort letters and consents, acquisitions and divestitures, and internal audits. Prior to being admitted as a partner, Franklin served as a senior manager.

Franklin is a certified public accountant (CPA) in Texas and a member of the American Institute of CPAs. He is also a board member and on the Finance Committee of the Cancer Support Community of North Texas and a member of the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals organization. Franklin received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Texas A&M University.

Chris Melella joined the firm in 2010 as part of the Availion acquisition and has more than 17 years of experience in performance and profitability improvement, strategy achievement, business transformation, change management, reporting and analytics. He has led or participated in large-scale transformation initiatives and integration efforts aimed at reducing direct cost, enhancing revenue, and providing cross-functional business insight through key performance metrics and dashboard development. Prior to being promoted to managing director, Melella served as a director.

Melella is a certified project management professional and serves on the board of directors for White Rock YMCA and Edgemont Wrestling Club. Melella received a bachelor’s degree from Boston College.

Kyle Turner joined the firm in 2009 and has more than 14 years of experience performing financial valuations of business enterprises, business interests, private equity, and various types of intangible assets for public and privately-held businesses across several industries. He serves his clients with a full suite of valuation and financial advisory services for litigation support, estate planning, financial and tax reporting, and strategic purposes. Prior to being promoted to managing director, Turner served as a senior manager.

Turner is a certified financial analyst and accredited senior appraiser. Turner received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from Texas Christian University.

In addition to these promotions, Grant Thornton’s Dallas office has also welcomed three new partners as transfers from other offices, including:

Matt Gerkens

  • Gerkens joined the firm in 2002. He is an Audit partner, primarily serving clients in the Consumer & Industrial Products industry. He has worked on a wide range of international audits from U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission companies to privately held companies in the manufacturing, distribution, information technology, and government contracting. Gerkens also spent three years working in Shanghai, China with Grant Thornton. He is a CPA and member of the AICPA. He received his MBA from Loyola University of Maryland and his bachelor’s degree from Villanova University.

Joseph Loretto

  • Loretto joined the firm in 2000. He is an Audit partner and has extensive experience with debt and equity transactions, business combinations and other complex accounting matters. Loretto embraced the firm’s mobility strategy with previous international secondments to Australia, China and Brazil. He will continue in his role as leader of the Latin American Business Group while continuing to serve clients in the Consumer and Industrial Products industry. He is a CPA and member of the AICPA. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas.

Tim Zechman

  • Zechman joined the firm in 2011. He is an Audit partner and has experience working with public and private, middle market, entrepreneurial and high growth companies. Prior to transferring to Dallas, Zechman served as the office managing partner of the firm’s St. Louis office. He will primarily provide services to clients and drive growth in the Consumer and Industry Products industry. He is a CPA and member of the AICPA. He received his bachelor’s degree from Bloomsburg University.

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