Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis today announced the retirement of his Chief of Staff, Robert “Budd” Kneip. Kneip will be retiring after nine years of public service and his last day with the Department will be August 31st. An announcement on the transition to a new Chief of Staff will be made in the coming days.
CFO Patronis said, “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. Under the leadership of former CFO Jeff 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. I thank Budd for his exemplary service to the state and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
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 – 2010, 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.