New York | Shortly after Janet Truncale was picked as the next global chief executive at EY, she dialled in to a video call with executives in the US, appearing alongside two of the people she had beaten in the race and the head of EY’s US business, who had pushed for another candidate.
The call with fellow members of EY’s US executive committee on Wednesday was all smiles and congratulations, according to people familiar with how it went – a demonstration of bonhomie among rivals at a firm whose 13,000 partners are desperate to move on from a period of infighting.
Janet Truncale joined EY as an intern 30 years ago and was quickly marked out for leadership roles.
But Truncale, the first woman to become global chief of a big four firm, faces a formidable challenge in uniting the 395,000-person group, and rivals Deloitte, PwC and KPMG are watching keenly in the hope of taking advantage of EY’s turmoil.
It is just seven months since the acrimonious collapse of a plan to spin off EY’s consulting and tax advice business from its historic accounting operations, dubbed Project Everest. Outgoing global boss Carmine Di Sibio hoped to create a blueprint for the rest of the big four, but his plan was blocked by opposition from the US executive committee.
The proponents of a split, including Di Sibio, have not been shaken in their view that it remains a commercial necessity, arguing that EY’s consulting business is held back by conflict-of-interest rules that prevent it from working with the firm’s audit clients, who include the world’s largest tech companies.
Opponents are no less vehement that a split risks weakening the audit business.
The question will rear its head again quickly as Truncale picks her executive team and worksRead more on afr.com