1995 IUP Accounting Alumnus Leda Speaks to SAA

Posted on 3/1/2019 12:45:43 PM

On Monday, February 25, the Student Accounting Association held its second meeting for the semester. The SAA was pleased to host as their guest speaker James Leda, managing director of KrYS Global and founder and president of Mount Vernon Capital Advisors, both located in New York City. Leda graduated from IUP in 1995 with majors in accounting and finance.

He was invited to speak to the SAA by his former Intermediate accounting professor and current SAA faculty advisor, Kim Anderson.

Leda began his career in the accounting profession as a member of the audit staff with PwC in their Pittsburgh office and has moved into the forensic accounting areas of fraud investigations, bankruptcy dealings, and handling portfolios of distressed assets.

Leda began his presentation by mentioning how much he enjoys visiting IUP and interacting with the current students and faculty. He was extremely impressed with the progress of the Eberly College of Business. He was quoted as saying, “This school means the world to me.”

The overarching topic of Leda’s presentation was “placing yourself in the way of opportunity.” From the beginning of Leda’s career, he was always talking to executives, leaders, and anyone who could help him advance his career. In 1995 while working at PwC, the new hires were sitting in meetings with various departments within PwC. Leda had no interest in hearing from any of the other departments until the department that deals with forensic accounting services, such as bankruptcies, liquidations, and patent infringement cases made their presentation. This area of work appealed to Leda. After the meeting on a Friday afternoon, he approached the manager for that department and asked if they could use his help that evening. After assisting them, they offered Leda a permanent position in that department. He remained in that role for approximately four years. Leda emphasized that simply by placing himself in a new situation, he learned so much and ultimately obtained a job that shaped his career into what it is today.

James Leda with SAA studentsPhoto: SAA officers and chairs pose with guest speaker as follows: Emily Sayler (Recognition Dinner chair), Kaitlin Albright (vice president), James Leda (guest speaker), Seth Thomas (social events chair), and Matthew DeCesare (president)

Leda had applied to the University of Chicago Booth School of Business to further his education. While at a speaking event in Chicago, the guest speaker was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she was a recruiter for the business school at the University of Chicago. Hearing this, Leda wanted to introduce himself to her and speak to her personally. However, after her speech, Leda was unable to find her as there were hundreds of people at the event. It was not until later that day when Leda was walking out of the bathroom that he ran into her and took advantage of this opportunity to speak to her. She was impressed to know that Leda was a regular speaker at a special topics class in Pittsburgh. Leda is not sure if that conversation led to his acceptance at the business school in Chicago, but again, Leda saw an opportunity to further his career, and he jumped at it.

After PwC, Leda went on to Wall Street working for Merrill Lynch. Here, he played a crucial role in helping distressed companies manage their assets. He dealt with both domestic and international clients. One of his big US clients was General Motors. During the auto market collapse of 2008, Leda made it a personal goal to know GM better than anyone else. By doing this, he was able to effectively navigate GM through bankruptcy.

Upon leaving PwC, Leda had an idea of being a forensic accounting service provider for fraud investigations, bankruptcy dealings, and handling portfolios of distressed assets. Leda created Mount Vernon Capital in 2015. While Mount Vernon Capital has not had many large clients yet, he is prepared to be a vital part in helping distressed companies manage all their assets. Leda is also the managing director at KRyS Global. Here, Leda conducts various fraud investigations. Many of Leda’s clients are based in areas outside of the United States.

Leda noted that handling fraud investigations is a tricky area, as the assets must be accounted for and must be obtained to return to the rightful owner. However, the assets must be recaptured legally, which is usually through money. It is evident that Leda’s heart and soul are poured into his career everyday he goes into work.

The next SAA meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 6, at 5:00 p.m. in the Eberly Auditorium.