Schiro quits PwC as confusion mounts.

Jim Schiro, global chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers, is to step down amid speculation of growing internal tension at the firm over how to move forward.

Schiro, who oversaw the 1998 merger of Coopers & Lybrand with Price Waterhouse, announced his intention to leave earlier than expected at a meeting of senior partners in Paris on Friday.

In a letter sent out to partners, Schiro wrote: ‘The time has come to extend that orderly transition to the global level, to give a new generation … the opportunity to shape our firm’s global future.’

His decision to leave is viewed by many as the result of mounting dissatisfaction among PwC’s 10,000 partners over an unclear strategy for the firm’s future.

The firm’s plan to sell off its consultancy arm, following a scathing report by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, failed at the end of last year when Hewlett-Packard pulled out of an $18bn deal.

Since then PwC has not been able to find another buyer and plans for an initial public offering appear to be the only alternative to fulfil the firm’s commitment to restructure. But, an IPO isn’t expected until much later this year.

Continued fallout from the merger in the form of partner and staff cuts appears to have added to internal confusion.

The firm’s new global oversight board will nominate the next chief executive who will have to be approved by partners.

The names of board members are expected to be finalised over the next six weeks, but the appointment of a new chief executive is not expected until the autumn.

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