Since the start of the year there has been a raft of senior leadership appointments, which signal the initial steps of shattering the industry’s image as being white male led.

The most recent senior appointment was that of Punit Renjen as Deloitte global chief executive.
Indian-born and raised, Renjen made most of his professional career in the US, 28 years of which were spent at Deloitte. He is the first Indian-born to run a Big Four network.

Deloitte has also appointed Cathy Engelbert as the US chief executive and chairman making her the first female chief executive of a US Big Four firm. Engelbert’s background is audit and she is to start the top leadership role as of 11 March.

The appointment of Cindy Hook by Deloitte at the start of February – making her the first ever female chief executive of a Big Four firm in Australia was another notable change.

Change has not been isolated solely to Deloitte and the Big Four, with Grant Thornton UK appointing Sacha Romanovitch as the firm’s future chief executive making her the only female chief executive among the top ten UK accounting firms.

Coincidently, this year’s International Accounting Bulletin annual senior executives’ round table discussion was all about the role of developing markets and the future leadership in the industry.

While the attendees completely fitted the white male stereotype of the industry, they all predicted that the days when a Chinese, Indian or more female leaders sit at the table in the role of global chief executive are closer than we think.

As the global power shifts the need for larger accounting networks to diversify their boards and global leaderships is key for future success. Five years ago, only a few had a Chinese leader sitting on their global leadership boards. Now that has become an absolute necessity, the coming years are likely to bring about many more diverse appointments.

Perhaps the IAB annual senior executives’ round table might even have to consider alternative locations to London. Read the summary of this year’s discussion on page 6 to 10.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank ACCA for their support with the event and for kindly hosting us for the second year running.