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December 15, 2014

Deloitte Australia first Big Four firm in the country to appoint female CEO

By Isabella Grotto

Deloitte Australia has appointed Cindy Hook as chief executive officer effective 1 February 2015, marking the first appointment of a female leader by a Big Four firm in the country.

A member of Deloitte Australia’s leadership and executive suite since 2009 and currently national managing partner for assurance and advisory, Hook is to take over from Giam Swiegers, who has led the firm for 12 years.

Her appointment has been heralded as particularly significant for the profession in Australia.

Despite the fact that half the accountants in the country are female, women remain heavily under-represented at more senior levels.

A 2013 study by Business Review Weekly found that among the nation’s top 100 firms by revenue only 16.9% partners are women.
Hook’s appointment makes her the only female chief executive officer of a Big Four firm, not only in Australia. There have been few women taking the leadership role within Big Four firms and there hasn’t been a female chief executive running a Big Four firm in the US, UK or globally.

Commenting on Hook’s appointment, Deloitte Australia chairman Keith Jones praised her track record, including her "extraordinary" transformation of the firm’s audit practice.

"She is a highly impressive talent known for her collaborative leadership style and for building high performance audit and advisory teams," he said.

Hook joined Deloitte Australia from the US firm in 2009 and also holds the post of executive sponsor for responsible business and the Deloitte Foundation.

The past year saw Deloitte Australia leap from fourth to second in the country’s firm ranking by fee income, thanks in part to a high level of activity including eight transactions, and outgoing chief executive officer Swiegers told IAB he expects a similar level of activity for the coming year.

Hook, who joined Deloitte Australia from the network’s US firm in 2009, described herself as "determined to continue Deloitte’s momentum."

Related articles:

Australia survey: Evolution down under

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