Deloitte Board Fails to Re-Nominate CEO Engelbert

Catherine Engelbert

Catherine Engelbert

New York-based Deloitte (FY17 net revenue of $18.6 billion) has told its partners that the first woman to run a Big 4 firm in the U.S., Cathy Engelbert, has not been renominated for a second four-year term, the Wall Street Journal reported June 28.

The Journal reported that the announcement “stunned” Deloitte partners and that it came as a “complete shock.” The newspaper reported, “The rationale wasn’t made clear, and dozens of partners, unhappy the firm didn’t provide an explanation, sent a letter to Deloitte’s board demanding more information and transparency on the matter.”

Deloitte did not comment, saying it will provide an update when the firm has its formal leadership election in early 2019. Engelbert also did not provide the Journal with a comment.

Engelbert, who has been with the company since 1986, was named CEO in 2015. She ran the audit practice prior to becoming CEO.

The Journal, citing anonymous sources, reported that some are concerned that the move signifies a shift in focus toward consulting and away from auditing. One person “familiar with Deloitte’s CEO election process,” told the Journal that the situation “certainly isn’t just normal succession.”

Engelbert possibly could be renominated for a second term at a later phase of Deloitte’s CEO-election process. A candidate recommended by the board must be approved by two-thirds of Deloitte’s voting partners and principals. Her current term ends next spring.

Since Deloitte named Engelbert CEO, KPMG named Lynne Doughtie as chairwoman and CEO in 2015. At Ernst & Young, Kelly Grier became chairwoman and managing partner July 1.