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PwC shuffles the pack as O'Rourke picks new team


NEW TEAM: Feargal O'Rourke

NEW TEAM: Feargal O'Rourke

NEW TEAM: Feargal O'Rourke

A new management team has taken over at the country's biggest accountancy firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The nine-strong team, led and selected by managing partner Feargal O'Rourke, will formally take over in July. However the transition to new management is already largely completed.

The management team will lead PwC Ireland for at least four years and possibly longer.

The group is significantly younger than the old guard. Unusually for management at a 'big four' accounting firm, many of those selected are in their early 40s.

The news was announced by video stream to PwC's 2,000 Irish employees.

Paul Tuite has been appointed chief operations officer. He was formerly head of advisory services. Enda McDonagh is the new head of audit and assurance. Joe Tynan is taking on O'Rourke's old role, head of tax. Ciaran Kelly is the new head of advisory services.

Three of the new appointments are focused on the company's internal affairs.

Susan Kilty has been selected as people partner. Ronan Doyle is risk and quality partner. David McGee is markets and strategy partner. A new head of legal has also been appointed; Liz Davis.

The duration of their time at the top will depend on whether O'Rourke, who declined to comment, is re-elected as managing partner in four years' time. The accountant is the son of ex-Fianna Fail minister Mary O'Rourke and cousin to the late Brian Lenihan and was tipped for a political career before rising up the ranks at PwC. He was voted into the top job late last year by the partners. Andy O'Callaghan and John McDonnell contested O'Rourke for the job. O'Callaghan is rumoured to be in the running for a role at PwC Europe in an asset management capacity and McDonnell has been appointed chair of the company's oversight board, its board of partners.

O'Rourke and his new team take over from Ronan Murphy, who has returned to practice as a partner at the firm. In March, Murphy was asked to appear before the banking enquiry to testify about his experiences during the bank guarantee.

PwC is the largest of Ireland's 'big four' accountancy firms, who together earned around €1bn in 2014. Its audit clients include many of Ireland's biggest corporate names spanning all sectors, from DCC to Kerry and BoI.

The reshuffle takes place at a time of unprecedented change for the industry. New EU rules aimed at undermining the stranglehold enjoyed by the 'big four' over large audit contracts is prompting many Irish-listed companies to change their auditors for the first time in decades.

The rules will also prohibit auditors of listed firms from supplying other services, like advisory services, to those firms. These are often more lucrative than the audit contracts are, meaning that in some cases accounting firms will prefer to be dropped as auditors, so they can be retained for other services.

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