John Lauber, founder of Milwaukee-based LauberCFOs, has sold his company to Mark Wiesman and Julie Tolan. Financial terms of the transaction, which closed on Feb. 1, were not disclosed.
Lauber founded the firm, which provides services including part-time chief financial officer placements for small and mid-sized businesses, in 1986. The company now has 25 employees. Lauber alluded to the plans to sell the company in his holiday letter to clients. Now that the transaction has closed, Lauber, 66, will remain on board and focus his efforts on business development and direct client interaction.
“I believe that (Mark) will carry on the same culture, care and concern for providing real value to our customers, a focus on providing a good work environment for our employees, and his interest in providing me a meaningful, ongoing role,” Lauber said. “I will be able to move on from the day-to-day administration of the firm and do the two things I enjoy most, which is business development sales and working more with clients, which I haven’t been able to do for a number of years.”
Lauber and Wiesman met in May through a mutual business associate who knew one was looking to sell and the other was looking to buy a business.
[caption id="attachment_162311" align="alignright" width="257"] John Lauber[/caption]
“I’ve been looking for a company to buy for four years in March,” Wiesman said. “I looked at about 300 companies. I made offers on about a dozen businesses, half of which haven’t sold, half of which ended up selling to private equity companies.”
Wiesman, 53, has more than 30 years of experience in finance, operations, IT and leadership roles in the area. He worked as an accountant at Ernst & Young and predecessor Arthur Young & Co. for seven years; then at Vinyl Plastics Inc. in Sheboygan, where he rose to the head of the IT group and then the medical products business, until shortly after it was sold in 2004. Wiesman also was president of DDN, a division of Dohmen, for three years. And most recently, he invested in and became chief operating officer of quick-growing Milwaukee startup Access HealthNet LLC. He will continue in that role concurrently with his new role as president and owner of LauberCFOs.
“Given my background and John’s background, both having financial skills, the financial part of it wasn’t all that hard,” Wiesman said. “It’s really making sure the culture fits…making sure it had a good future. It’s got an unbelievable reputation.”
Wiesman’s wife, Julie Tolan, led the restructuring and turnaround of the troubled YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which eliminated $30 million in debt the nonprofit had accumulated over two decades. After leading the organization through bankruptcy from 2013 to 2016, Tolan exited the YMCA in June. At LauberCFOs, Tolan will work in business development as owner and vice president of strategic initiatives.
[caption id="attachment_162309" align="alignleft" width="226"] Julie Tolan[/caption]
Wiesman and Tolan plan to add some new service lines at LauberCFOs, applying the company’s business model to other sectors. LauberCFOs offers companies financial counsel through full-time interim assignments, full-time project work and search and placement for financial executives. Its fractional CFO services help companies who need financial assistance but can't afford or don't need a full-time employee.
“Finance will be the No. 1 thing we’ll continue to promote, but the model that John’s built is quite transferrable to other functions within companies,” Wiesman said. “I also think the way the workforce is changing bodes well for the model that John’s built here. There’s lots of opportunities for this part-time, gig type of opportunity out in the economy and the workforce right now.”
Lauber applauded the new owners’ plans. He also plans to serve as a mentor to young professionals in his free time.
“My client involvement has been minimal for quite a few years as I grew the business,” Lauber said. “I want to continue to do anything I can to help Mark continue to grow the business. I’m looking forward to seeing Mark take it to the next level and I think he’s got the horsepower to do it.”