Paul Schmidt and Fernando Catala new leaders of Baker Tilly WM

06 August 2020 2 min. read
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Baker Tilly WM, a Vancouver and Toronto–based accounting and consulting firm, has appointed Paul Schmidt as chief operating officer and Fernando Catala as chief financial officer. The executives will be based in Vancouver.

Baker Tilly WM is one of the larger constituent firms of the Baker Tilly Canada Cooperative (formerly Collins Barrow), a network of independent firms with over 2,000 professionals across the country. Baker Tilly WM was formed in 2018 through the merger of Collins Barrow Vancouver with accounting firms Wolrige Mahon (Vancouver) and CW Group (Toronto). The merger created a company with 20 partners and 160 professionals.

Paul Schmidt joined Wolrige Mahon in 1990, and has extensive experience across IT management and audit and assurance. As COO, he will ensure the firm’s strategic plans are executed effectively, and will continue the work of integrating the three merged companies.

Schmidt has been a partner in Wolrige Mahon’s IT group since 2003, overseeing the firm’s IT operations (admin, software and hardware selection, training and education, etc.) as well as technology consulting for clients. Prior to becoming a manager in the IT group in 1998, Schmidt worked as a CPA in the firm’s audit and accounting group.

Paul Schmidt and Fernando Catala - Baker Tilly WM

“Paul has been part of our firm’s culture and identity for decades and has had a great part in building it,” said Paul Websdale, managing partner at Baker Tilly WM. “We look forward to his thought leadership and ability to bring both offices together – moving forward with a deep commitment to our clients’ success.”

Fernando Catala rejoins Baker Tilly WM as CFO, having previously worked at Wolrige Mahon between 1998 and 2008. Catala spent the last 11 years at Vancouver-based wine retailer Everything Wine, where he served as controller and then VP of finance. In the role, he developed the company’s internal control systems, reporting guidelines, and KPI dashboarding for the business and its retail locations.

“Inspired by his impressive track record, we are excited to welcome Fernando to our team in the crucial role of chief financial officer,” said Websdale. “In his most recent position, Fernando helped the business grow five-fold in revenue, and we believe he can play a similar role in the evolution of our firm as we continue to amplify the value we provide clients.”

During his initial time at Wolrige Mahon, Catala rose to the position of manager, and worked on engagements across audit, assurance, and tax.

The firm earlier this year welcomed Deepak Upadhyaya as partner and leader of the firm’s digital technology & risk group.