Grant Thornton Looking to Boost Profits in U.K.

Chicago-based Grant Thornton (FY18 net revenue of $1.86 billion) has had a difficult year in the U.K., parting ways with about a dozen partners as it recovers from intense criticism over its audits of Patisserie Valerie and the controversial departure of its former chief executive, the Financial Times reported.

Grant Thornton told firm leaders that 6% of the total number of partners were leaving as it works to improve profits. The newspaper reported that 2018 profits fell by 8% to £72 million and revenue dropped from £500 million to £491 million. That pushed down partner earnings to less than what they made in 2015, when Sacha Romanovitch became chief executive.

An insider told the Financial Times that it was “not a night of the long knives”, but that some partners who were nearing retirement had been “moved on more quickly” as the firm attempts to rein in “legacy costs” related to its former leadership.

Jonathan Riley, head of quality and reputation at Grant Thornton, said the departures represented “a combination of factors including early retirement and some people whose roles no longer exist because of recent restructures and a change of focus around our client base generally.”

The new CEO, David Dunckley, who took over in November, has cut administrative staff and risky clients to turn around the firm’s fortunes.

One of the controversies dogging the firm is an investigation by the Financial Reporting Council for failing to spot a suspected serious fraud at bakery chain Patisserie Valerie.

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