Anderson partner Robert Allgyer dies at 72 – Finance News

on Jul10

10 July 2017 | 6:29 pm

Robert Allgyer, an Arthur Andersen partner known as the Rainmaker before client troubles foreshadowed the fall of Enron and Andersen itself in 2002, died July 6 in Lake Bluff, according to a death notice. He was 72.

Allgyer was the partner in charge of Andersen’s relationship with Waste Management, which ended after the Securities & Exchange Commission for the first time accused a major accounting firm of securities fraud. Andersen paid a $7 million civil penalty and $75 million to settle shareholder lawsuits after the trash hauler, then based in Oak Brook, issued a $1.43 billion earnings restatement in 1997.

Andersen was accused of turning a blind eye to Waste Management’s lax accounting practices because it was deriving far more consulting than audit revenue from the client. Allgyer was championed for his ability to cross-sell non-audit services to audit clients, hence his nickname. He and two other Andersen partners settled with the SEC in June 2001, four months before another Andersen client, Enron, came under scrutiny for the same practices.

Allgyer was fined $50,000 and agreed not to audit public companies for at least five years. He left Andersen in 2000, never commenting publicly on his departure.

“He was respected by his partners as a skillful analyst of accounting behavior,” said Duane Kullberg, a former Andersen CEO.

Allgyer, a Pennsylvania native who joined Andersen out of college, was known around the city for his civic commitments, ranging from the Lyric Opera, Golden Apple Foundation and Metropolitan Family Services to the Juvenile Diabetes Association and Chicago Lung Association.

“He quarterbacked the firm’s charitable giving in the city,” said Steve Samek, a former Andersen colleague who headed U.S. operations. “You just can’t go by the boards he served on.”

Stumbles at Waste Management and other Andersen clients, including a $110 million payment to Sunbeam shareholders in 2001 over a faulty audit, have been cited as motivation for the Justice Department to prosecute Andersen criminally for obstruction of justice in the Enron matter.

Although Andersen’s conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2005, it came too late to save the firm.

“Everybody has ups and downs,” Samek said. “The firm had its up and downs. Bob epitomized what our firm stood for (in terms of) client satisfaction. When you’re in a client service business, there’s not much of a better legacy than that.”

Services are scheduled for 4 p.m. tomorrow at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Lake Forest.

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