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Staffing giant CEO announces retirement

David Dunkel has been with Kforce for more than 40 years.

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  • | 12:57 p.m. December 6, 2021
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David Dunkel
David Dunkel
  • Tampa Bay-Lakeland
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TAMPA — Staffing giant Kforce has announced a succession at the top of the company, with longtime leader and CEO David Dunkel retiring.

Joseph Liberatore, another longtime executive who had been president of the firm, will add CEO to his responsibilities, according to a statement. The changes are effective Jan. 1, the release adds.

Liberatore, who joined one of Kforce’s predecessor companies, Romac International, in 1988, has also been appointed to the publicly-traded company’s board, effective immediately. He’s been a technology recruiter at Kforce and has served in multiple executive roles during his tenure with the firm, including chief sales officer, chief talent officer, CFO and as President for the last nine years. Dunkel, meanwhile, who has held the CEO position at Kforce and its predecessors for over 40 years, will remain employed by Kforce on a limited, part-time basis and continue to serve as the board chairman, the release states.

Traded on the Nasdaq under the symbol KFRC, Kforce posted $1.52 billion in revenue in the past 12 months. That’s up from $1.4 billion in all of 2020. The leadership change was announced before the market opened Dec. 6. By midday, the company’s shares were trading at $72.76, down slightly from opening bell.  

“The strategic vision we laid out for the firm to narrow our focus on providing technical and professional services to industry-leading and innovative companies is foundational to our recent exceptional performance,” Dunkel says in the statement. “We believe the execution of this strategic vision has positioned Kforce extremely well to capture additional market share in the future.

Courtesy. Joseph Liberatore.
Courtesy. Joseph Liberatore.

“In 2021, we are delivering record levels of revenue growth and have greatly improved our profitability, and, in recognition of our performance, our stock price has continued to hit all-time highs,” he adds. “I have decided that this is the ideal time for me to step aside and turn the leadership reigns over to Joe. My initial five-year commitment to my father led to serving as the CEO of Kforce for more than 40 years, which has been one of the greatest experiences of my lifetime. I am humbled and eternally grateful for the honor and privilege to have served Kforce and its stakeholders in this capacity. There have certainly been a number of incredibly challenging times but, through each of those periods, we have persevered and Kforce emerged as a stronger firm.

No small part of our success over the years is attributable to the culture we have built at Kforce, the bond that is shared among our executive leadership team and the incredible strength of our Kforcers. Joe has played a significant part in developing and executing our strategic vision and every major initiative within the firm for many years and was instrumental in managing our firm through the pandemic. Since Joe’s promotion into the President role, our total shareholder return has exceeded 700%. I couldn’t think of a more qualified and principled leader to guide Kforce to new heights.”

“I am grateful to Dave for the standard of excellence he has established along with his support and mentorship over the 30+ years we have worked so closely together; to our board of directors for their encouragement, wisdom and guidance; to the executive leadership team for their partnership and passion for the firm, always leaning forward and never looking back; and for the fortitude of all of the dedicated Kforcers who are responsible for delivering exceptional results for our clients and consultants,” Liberatore says in the release. “We have built a strong foundation over the last several years upon which we can continue delivering exceptional results for our many stakeholders. Our ‘office occasional’ operating model supported by flexibility and choice and empowered by trust and technology makes this an exciting time for Kforce, our industry and business with the reshaping of where and how work is performed.”

Kforce Inc. specializes in technology and other professional staffing services. The company annually works with 30,000 professionals who work with approximately 3,000 clients, including a significant majority of the Fortune 500. The company recently sold its Ybor City campus and plans to move its headquarters to Midtown Tampa in 2022.






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