PricewaterhouseCoopers stalls split

Kieran Poynter, this week elected to the top position by his fellow partners for a five-year term, did however give more clues than have previously emerged as to the likely shape of the new businesses.

The bulk of the firm, he said, would retain the PwC name together with audit, legal and actuarial and other activities, and was likely to represent more than 60% of the current business.

Management consultancy and the growing business process outsourcing division, which this week won a major internal audit contract from Safeway (see left), will become independent. Poynter said the ‘jury is still out’ on whether these would form one or two businesses, but the separation would allow them to seek new partners and alliances.

PwC admitted in April that the original July deadline for separation, which will follow the crackdown on auditor independence by the US Securities and Exchange Commission, was ‘unrealistic’.

Poynter told Accountancy Age this week: ‘We are aiming for clarity about where we are going by the end of the year.’ But He did not specify a completion date for the restructuring.

Poynter, 49, has been with the firm since joining Price Waterhouse in 1974. Most recently managing partner, he replaces Peter Smith.

He said he is looking forward to the challenge of his new post, but added: ‘some aspects of the job will be more fun than others.’

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