BusinessPeople In BusinessReplacing Poynter will be no mean feat

Replacing Poynter will be no mean feat

The end of an era will come in July when Kieran Poynter, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers, steps down and a new chief takes over at the country’s biggest firm

Gavin Hinks, AccountancyAge

Given PwC’s scale, leading it through the next few years will be no minor
task. Poynter, has kept the firm at the top and maintaining its position as the
dominant accounting force for the FTSE 100 can’t be easy.

But like the rest of the market, PwC’s growth rate has been eroded over the
last three years. From 12% in 2005, it stood at 6% in June 2007. Despite that,
PwC can boast that it is the only firm with a turnover of more than £2bn.

The challenge will be to keep it in that position as Deloitte, the UK’s
second largest firm, continues to build revenue aggressively. Despite denials
losing the ‘biggest firm’ tag would be a major blow to the brand.

The current economic environment is unlikely to help (though Deloitte will be
in the same position). A more dangerous water to chart will be the credit crunch
and ensuring PwC’s name does not become attached to a significant corporate
failure.

The risks here are significant and the firm will no doubt already have tough
safeguards in place. A successor will need to ensure he ­ or she ­ is happy they
are tough enough.

Then there is the audit choice debate. If the mid tier were to make
significant inroads into Big Four business, PwC potentially has the most to lose
because it dominates the audit of the largest publicly listed companies.

Though nominations have not yet opened, the leadership race is expected to
involve at least six candidates. It will be a big field for the biggest firm.
But they will be vying to tackle the biggest challenges.

comment@accountancyage.com

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