Only days ago, WSJ ran the headline “EY Breakup Plan Is Really Dead” and included a quote from EY Americas Vice Chair of Tax Kevin Flynn, lifted from a recording of a staff call: “My message to everyone about Everest is, it’s behind us. Let’s not spend time in the rearview mirror.” And days before that we found out that EY will have to borrow something like $300 million to plug the Everest-sized hole the split plan left in their wallets lest partner payouts be affected by its failure. Meanwhile, leadership is saying to stay close to clients and telling staff “we need to do a much better job…in billing every hour we can get our hands on” (that’s a direct quote from Americas Deputy Managing Principal Steve Payne). So we all pretty much assumed EY leadership would slink away to lick their wounds, throw a few people under the bus, and hope people forget about the deal gone wrong, right? Wrong.
Apparently EY Global CEO and future bus speed bump Carmine Di Sibio is not letting it go. This is a quickie published May 1 in FT:
EY’s global chief executive, Carmine Di Sibio, conceded the plan to split the firm in two was “on pause for a while”, in his first public comments since US executives last month nixed a spin-off of its consulting business.
“We are not a corporate where the CEO says something and it just gets done,” he told the Milken Institute. “We’re a series of partnerships… We couldn’t get a particular group of people to vote for it and therefore it’s on pause, and it’s really on pause for a while.”
What do we think? Denial? Optimism? A steadfast commitment to independent consulting? Or is this just his way of repackaging Everest’s failure into a small disagreement among 13,000 people?