EY nominates heads of consulting and audit ahead of break-up vote

EY’s global boss Carmine Di Sibio will run the firm’s spun-out consulting business if partners vote in favour of a plan to break up the Big Four accounting group.

The audit-led business will be led by US boss Julie Boland, capping a rapid rise for the former investment banker who joined as a partner in 2010.

Announced by EY on Wednesday, the appointments are a milestone before the firm puts its break-up plan to country-by-country votes by its 13,000 partners next year.

Trent van Veen, head of EY’s global governance council, said the appointments had been unanimously approved by that body and the firm’s global executive following a selection process in which “soundings” were taken from conversations with more than 400 partners.

EY said appointments would take effect on the date of the transaction to spin out the consulting business, which will include the bulk of its tax division.

Di Sibio will continue to lead both the audit and advisory sides of the business until then, even after an internal split of the businesses in July next year.

His appointment as chair and chief executive of the consulting business will allow him to continue his career beyond EY’s usual retirement age of 60, which he will reach in March.

The Italian-born American has led EY since 2019 and was seen as the favourite to lead the consulting arm after the split, prompting some retired US partners to ask who was looking out for the interests of the audit business in negotiations over the break-up.

Asked whether Boland’s appointment would address that concern, van Veen said Boland “is a very considered leader”. “She certainly has the best interests of all partners at EY at heart,” he said.

Following a spell as chief financial officer of public and privately-owned US companies, Boland joined EY as a partner in 2010 before being appointed an office managing partner in Ohio in 2014.

She ascended to lead the firm’s US central region in 2018 and was elected US chair and managing partner this year when the incumbent Kelly Grier opted not to run for a second term after a power struggle with Di Sibio.

A certified public accountant and former JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs employee, Boland has not worked as an auditor at EY but van Veen said that having led the US firm she was “well-versed in the business”.

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