Jeremy Newman leaves BDO

Jeremy Newman will step down as BDO International chief executive
at the end of September to pursue a career outside of professional
services. Former BDO Netherlands managing partner Martin
van Roekel has been appointed Newman’s successor.

In an exclusive interview, Newman told
International Accounting Bulletin his decision to leave
BDO International after completing a single three-year term was
motivated by a desire to try “something different”.

Newman said although he remains passionate
about the profession and his current role as chief executive, he
misses the client contact that he had while working as managing
partner of BDO’s UK firm.

“I have met some great people particularly
meeting governments and regulators; it has been fascinating, but
not entirely real. I would like a job which is a bit more grounded
and a bit more real,” he said.

Newman said he is unsure about his next career
move but it was “highly unlikely” he would ever return to the
accounting profession.

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“Why would I stay in that area and not stay in
my current role? There might be opportunities available to me in
this business, but it’s not really what I am looking for as I want
to do something different,” he said.

The Newman era

Since becoming BDO International chief
executive in 2008, BDO has increased global revenues by 3% in a
period when most firms, including the Big Four, suffered revenue
contractions due to the global financial crisis.

There has also been a solid growth in
headcount with BDO adding 2,928 partners and staff in the past
three years.

Newman said the growth of the BDO’s business
in China is the highlight of his tenure.

“The business we had in China when I took on
this job had less then 800 people in four different and differently
branded businesses. We now have in mainland China more then 6,000
people in a single branded business growing at a rapid rate, easily
the largest domestic business in China and in a couple of years it
will become larger than the Big Four firms,” he said.

“China perhaps stands out above all else as a
real demonstration of our ability to do things that matches the
best in the profession and perhaps more then anything else it has
my personal fingerprints all over it.”

Other highlights under his watch include
rolling out global common branding and a single audit methodology
across the network.

Newman will be remembered for his passion for
the profession and as a leader that is never short of an opinion in
an industry that tends to be media shy.

BDO on track

Newman said he confident BDO can continue to
prosper under van Roekel’s leadership.

“There are great opportunities out there for
businesses like BDO. The EC green paper and the House of Lords
inquiry will open doors to us but we have to walk through them. We
have to sees the moment,” he said.

Roeke stood down as managing partner of BDO
Netherlands in 2009 when Newman appointed him to BDO’s global
leadership team. He was the first global head of network
development and chief executive for Europe.

“I intend to continue the same pace of
development and level of activity set in motion and trust that I
can contribute to the further growth and success of the BDO
network,” van Roekel said.

“It is important that the change process which
has substantially promoted the positive development of BDO
throughout the world is continued.”