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November 27, 2022

Deloitte’s Next CEO Is a Woman, Let’s All Give Them a Cookie

As we learned this morning, Deloitte is going all in on diversity and inclusion with the appointment of Cathy Engelbert as incoming CEO, effective March 11. This is, as we know, the first female CEO of a Big 4 firm in U.S.

Not only is Cathy (obviously) not a white guy, she's not even really that old either. One could easily debate that 50-years-old is a bit over the hill (careful, you might hurt my boyfriend's feelings) but when it comes to playing in the old white guy treehouse that is public accounting leadership, that isn't bad at all.

So what's her story? Let's ask Deloitte:

Engelbert, [50], currently serves as chairman and CEO of Deloitte & Touche LLP, the US accounting, auditing, and risk advisory subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, leading the Audit practice. Since joining Deloitte in 1986, Engelbert has had a distinguished track record serving several of Deloitte’s largest and most complex global clients and is a former member of the Deloitte LLP Board of Directors.

“I’m deeply honored to lead Deloitte,” said Engelbert. “I look forward to collaborating with all our people to continue to lead our profession in quality and innovation. Together, we make an impact that matters every day for our clients, the capital markets, communities, and society.”

The Journal of Accountancy has an interesting interview with Engelbert, in which she explains how sticking with the partner track worked out for her:

Engelbert said that when she was pregnant with the first of her two children, she considered leaving Deloitte for a position with a large corporation. She was up for partner at the firm, but wondered whether she would be able to handle the responsibilities of being a mother, spouse, and effective leader serving clients for the firm.

But she decided to stay, and with the encouragement and backing of firm leadership made partner soon afterward. Over her career, the combination of her willingness to take risks on challenging new roles and having supportive sponsors helped build her momentum.

She has been married for 21 years, and has a 17-year-old daughter—who has taken accounting and economics classes in high school—and a 13-year-old son.

“I couldn’t be prouder to be a role model for them, and I think anyone who knows me knows I’ve been able to balance [family and the firm],” Engelbert said. “My kids are very, very important to me.”

The profession was quick to send their congratulations:

Congrats, Cathy, and we apologize in advance for any hazing you may get from us later. We assure you we are equal opportunity trolls, and it would be unfair of us to not troll you just because you are a woman. Girl power!

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