About Clark Consulting

Compensation champs

Clark Consulting is on a mission to "help companies keep their best people through a range of compensation, benefits and organizational development services targeted toward various industries," a specialty loosely defined as executive compensation consulting.  Clark's core business is to provide answers and solutions for its clients regarding risk management, earnings optimization, improvement of shareholder's value and how to realize key financial goals.  The firm's banking practice has helped more than 3,000 banking organizations recruit, retain and reward to executives and directors, while its health care and insurance industry practices perform similar services for those industries.  Clark also maintains an executive benefits practice, which works with Fortune 1000 companies, and a federal policy group, a sort of lobbying organization that works to advance clients' legislative aims on Capitol Hill.
Clark was founded in 1967 by Robert K. Clark and David A. Bardes, two executive benefits gurus, who opened offices in Cleveland and Cincinnati.  Originally known as Clark/Bardes, the firm was one of the first in the country to develop specialized executive benefits programs for banks.  The 1980s brought big changes to the firm, as Clark/Bardes moved its headquarters to Dallas under a new leader, Bud Smith.  In 1988, Smith purchased the firm from Dave Bardes, its sole owner, after which Smith resold 40 percent of the company to key employees.  Clark/Bardes continued developing innovative compensation services through the 1990s, including life insurance programs, benefits financing and administration. 

The firm's current head honcho, Tom Wamberg, took over from Bud Smith as chairman and CEO in 1996.  Clark/Bardes purchased Bank Compensation Strategies in 1997, further solidifying its position in the banking sector.  The firm launched a successful IPO in 1998, listing its stock on the Nasdaq.  The resources generated from the public offering allowed the firm to enhance its operations and invest in growth.  More acquisitions followed, including Schoenke & Associates, Wiedemann & Johnson, Management Compensation Group/Health Care, National Institute for Community Banking and Bank Consultants of America.

Buying and, later, selling

Clark/Bardes continued its aggressive momentum into the 21st century, with seven more critical acquisitions.  One high-profile buy was that of New York-based Pearl Meyer & Partners, a leading executive compensation consultancy.  Clark/Bardes became Clark/Bardes Consulting in 2001, and another acquisitions spree followed, primarily in the executive benefits consulting arena.  By early 2002, the firm had transferred its listing to the NYSE and, a year later, its name was officially changed to Clark Consulting.  The firm spent two years focusing on its own "organic growth" before picking up with another string of acquisitions in 2005, which included BancPlan, LLC, a company providing Internet-based software products for use in consulting with financial institutions; Stratford Advisory Group, an institutional investment firm; and MedEx, a provider of wholesale medical stop loss insurance, and its affiliate Argos Advantage, a utilization management company.  In January 2006, the firm formed Clark Benson LLC, a subsidiary headed by James M. Benson, former president and CEO of the John Hancock Life Insurance Company.  Clark Benson focuses on wealth transfer and employee benefits.  In late 2005, the firm expanded its consulting services for the banking industry.  In 2007, Clark sold its subsidiary Clark Inc., to AUSA Holding Company, an AEGON company.  Other business groups under Clark Inc. were also sold completely. 


Clark's bold moves earned kudos in the business press.  The firm was chosen in 2002 and 2003 as one of the country's 200 best small companies by Forbes magazine, while Consultants News named the firm among their top 75 consulting firms in the world in 2003 and 2004.  As befits an HR-focused firm, Consulting magazine named Clark as a top company to work for in 2005.  The American Bankers Association (ABA) in 2008 recognized Clark's effort by giving the latter an exclusive endorsement as a top quality provider of bank-owned life insurance and executive benefit consulting services.  In the same year, Clark transferred its headquarters from Chicago to Dallas. 

Clark Consulting

2100 Ross Avenue
Suite 2200
Dallas, TX 75201-7906
Phone: (214) 871-8717
Fax: (214) 720-6050


  • Employer Type: Private
  • Chairman, President & CEO: Kurt Laning
  • 2006 Employees: 930

Key Financials

  • 2006 Revenue: $274 million

Vault Company ID: 43421

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