PwC Australia’s Incoming CEO Sends Shockwaves with Bold Executive Team Overhaul

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In a surprising move reverberating through the corporate landscape, PwC Australia’s incoming CEO unleashes a seismic shake-up, upending the executive team and signalling a new transformation era.

PwC Australia’s esteemed legal advisor, Meredith Beattie, will retire as Kevin Burrowes, the incoming CEO, announces significant changes to the leadership team.

These changes, communicated in an email sent by Mr Burrowes to partners on Tuesday afternoon, also entail the retirement of Tony O’Malley, who was recently appointed as the chief risk officer.

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While their departures are not directly linked to the use of confidential information in multinational tax planning, the aftermath of the tax leaks scandal has played a role in these decisions as the consulting giant grapples with the financial consequences.

Mr Burrowes, previously serving as the global clients and industries leader within the network, was swiftly brought in to assume the firm’s leadership on June 25. 

In his email, he revealed that his Australian visa had been approved, and he would officially commence his CEO role upon arriving in Australia on July 17.

“Both Tony and Meredith had already expressed their intention to retire from the firm during this fiscal year, but they have now realised that these critical positions require a substantial commitment to leadership for the next two years,” stated Mr Burrowes.

Mr O’Malley had only recently taken on the role of chief risk officer in May, following the departure of former risk chief Sean Gregory, whose exit from the partnership was announced on Monday.

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Jan McCahey, the firm’s lead partner for assurance quality and risk, will assume the position of the new chief risk and ethics leader.

“Jan possesses extensive experience in risk and quality leadership and previously served as PwC’s global leader for public policy and regulation,” wrote Mr Burrowes. “We will soon announce the new head of the OGC [office of general counsel].”

Furthermore, Mr Burrowes added, “My main priorities will be to strengthen the firm’s governance, accountability, and culture, restore our business performance, and regain the trust of our stakeholders and the wider community. I will also work closely with the board of partners and all of you to ensure the timely election of our next CEO.”

As part of the restructuring, acting CEO Kristin Stubbins will step down from her role and assume a new position as the strategy and transformation leader while maintaining her position on the executive board. Mr Burrowes commended her exceptional work as acting CEO, highlighting her resilience and dedication to the firm.

Additionally, Sue Horlin, the firm’s Sydney managing partner, will now serve as the assurance leader, and Tom Gunson, the global client partner and financial services leader, will become the market leader. Catherine Walsh, the people leader, will also join the leadership team.

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Liza Maimone (chief operating officer), Rob Silverwood (financial advisory leader), and David McKeering (consulting leader) will continue their roles as existing board members.

Nicole Salimbeni, Corinne Best, Martina Crowley, Chris Morris, Rohit Antao, Julie McKay, and Elizabeth O’Brien depart from the leadership team. However, they will retain their other positions within the partnership.
“We anticipate maintaining close collaboration with them in those capacities,” concluded Mr Burrowes.

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