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Personnel note: Robert ‘Budd’ Kneip retires from CFO’s office

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Robert “Budd” Kneip, chief of staff to state Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, will retire Aug. 31, the office announced Friday.

Kneip will be retiring after nine years of public service, with “an announcement on the transition to a new Chief of Staff (to be) made in the coming days,” a press release said, suggesting that decision is in the can.

Kneip had been former CFO Jeff Atwater’s man, a fellow Palm Beach Countian who served as Atwater’s chief of staff when he was Senate President, following him to the CFO’s office in 2010. Atwater stepped down to become CFO for Florida Atlantic University; Gov. Rick Scott tapped Patronis to replace him in June.

“As Chief of Staff, Budd Kneip played an integral role in ushering in an era of some of the most advanced sunshine and public disclosure practices in the country,” Patronis said in a statement. “Under the leadership of former CFO Atwater, he helped install a system that creates a level playing field for business owners who want to bid for state business, as well as implementing management practices that not only improve efficiency and transparency, but deliver better value to the residents of Florida.

“Budd was vital to ensuring a smooth transition as I came on board as Chief Financial Officer by helping me get accustomed to the varied roles within the Department of Financial Services,” Patronis added. “I thank Budd for his exemplary service to the state and wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Here’s the rest of the release:

Kneip had a very successful business career, beginning in 1982 when he joined The Wackenhut Corporation. By 1988, he had assumed the position of Senior Vice President, Corporate Planning and Development, and was responsible for all strategic planning, marketing, business development, public and investor relations, and training for the parent Corporation and its worldwide subsidiaries.

In late 1996, Kneip founded the Oasis Group, a business process outsourcing company, as a wholly owned subsidiary of the parent corporation.  With subsequent acquisitions and aggressive organic growth, the Oasis Group had surpassed the $1 billion mark in revenues within its first five years.

With the successful sale of The Wackenhut Corporation in 2002, Kneip assumed the position of Chairman of the Board of Oasis in 2003, and remained on the board until the sale of Oasis in early 2006. From 2008-10, he served as Chief of Staff of the Florida Senate under President Atwater, and moved into the same position when Atwater was elected Chief Financial Officer in 2010.

Prior to joining the Senate President in Tallahassee, Kneip was very active in the greater Palm Beach County community, and served on a number of advisory boards and committees.

He is the recipient of numerous awards recognizing his business and civic contributions, including the Excalibur Award as the Palm Beach County Business Leader of the year for 2004 by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in 2004 for civic contributions by the North Palm Beach County Chamber of Commerce, and the Legends of South Florida award in 2005 given by South Florida CEO. In 2007, Kneip was identified by South Florida CEO magazine as one of the region’s most influential leaders.

Kneip graduated with honors from the University of Iowa, and subsequently earned an M.A. and Ph.D. from Tulane University.

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