After 17 years as chief executive officer (CEO) of RSM International, Jean Stephens will be stepping down from the role in May 2024. Having embedded the foundations for the organisation’s ambitious and transformative 2030 Global Strategy which was launched in January this year, Stephens and the RSM International board believe now is the right time to initiate a formal succession and transition process.
Stephens will continue as CEO for the network until May 2024, and then continue for a period of time at RSM in an advisory capacity with a focus on member matters and development, and to support an effective transition.
Over her tenure as CEO, interaction and integration across RSM member firms has significantly deepened and the network has grown from US$2.4bn (£1.97bn), with 23,000 people across 72 countries to global revenue as of Januar 2023 of US $ 8bn, with 57,000 people across 120 countries.
As the only global professional services network until as late as 2022 to have a female CEO, Stephens has been a role model for women in leadership positions across the profession. Starting at the RSM global executive office in London in 1996, she was chief operating officer before being appointed CEO on 1 January 2006. When Stephens steps down in May, she will leave a lasting legacy at RSM through programmes such as the RSM Academy, which provides global training to RSM’s next generation leaders; her work to embed quality as a cornerstone of the RSM strategy and drive a robust global training, inspections and monitoring programme across the Network; her engagement in developing and rolling out a unified global brand in 2015; and the significant growth she has driven in the network membership.
Commenting on this, Stephens said: “RSM is one of the most progressive professional services organisations in the world. It has been an extreme honour and a real privilege to lead such an ambitious and entrepreneurial Network and to work so closely and for so long with RSM’s exceptional leaders and teams of professionals around the world. It is their focus, collaboration, and dedication that has made RSM the great organisation we are today. With a new Strategy to 2030 firmly in place, it is the natural next step in the evolution of RSM that we welcome in a new Global CEO that will complete that journey and take RSM from the strength of today to a new high in 2030.”
RSM International board chairman, Joe Adams, added: “We are grateful to Jean for her outstanding service to RSM over the last 17 years as CEO. Her significant and sustained leadership has been instrumental in building the RSM network into the dynamic, global organisation it is today and her engagement in the development of our Global 2030 Strategy will help lead us into the future. We are fortunate that Jean will remain with RSM as a strategic advisor with a focus on membership matters and development in support of a successful transition, even as we empower new leadership to help drive us to achieve the 2030 strategy.”
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Over the coming months the RSM CEO succession committee will engage in a rigorous process to select the right candidate to lead the organisation to 2030 and beyond.