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New PwC Chairman Forming ‘Straight Talk Committee’ to Give Him ‘Candid Feedback’

Yesterday in the roundup, we learned about PwC's new leadership team in the US. It consists of 20 (!) people, led by Tim Ryan who announced the news in a LinkedIn post. The post is obviously scrubbed for an external audience, which is why it's fun that a source dropped us the internal email from TiRy that was sent to partners yesterday. Here's an excerpt of the text from that message:

I’m proud and excited to introduce the team that will work for and with you to get things done for the benefit of the partnership, our people and our clients.
This is a team that is representative of the tremendous diversity and talent within our firm. It is a team that brings many different skill sets, experiences and ways of thinking to the table. Some have spent their entire career at PwC, others have enriched our partnership by bringing experiences from outside the firm. Some will help provide continuity and others are new to the team. All will lead from the front, together with you, as we seek to be the firm that does what’s best for our clients and stakeholders.
I want to be clear that this team is here to serve you and represent you…and that is our mindset. To accomplish this, we’ve worked to build a team that is not only diverse in thought but reflects the shared future of our firm and our network. Our partnership is about balancing our near-term success with what’s right for our collective future, and that guided me as I weighed a variety of different perspectives. This included working closely with Bob [Moritz], the Management Evaluation and Compensation Committee (MECC) of our Board of Partners and Principals, and the Network Leadership Team to consider the highest and best use of our US partner talent in providing leadership at the US, cluster and network level.
What you can expect from us is a team that will work with you to execute and drive change in our firm with speed and agility. It is a team that will welcome your feedback and encourage productive conflict to move things forward. We will be transparent and results-oriented, hold ourselves accountable to you, and we will be humble. One thing you will notice is that some titles have changed to reflect a “Chief XYZ” convention. This was done solely to speak to our clients and other stakeholders in a way that makes more sense to them – it’s more externally focused. Make no mistake, this is a team and individual titles are less important.

Even the internal communication is sanitized! But it still gives us a glimpse at the inner workings not typically made available for outsiders. In this case, it's interesting to hear a leader of a firm say that titles are less important. I suppose when you're at this level, they really aren't important; everyone's a "leader" or a "chief" or a "managing" whatever so best to keep it simple, I guess.

Anyway, my favorite part of this message is the announcement of some auxiliary roles, specifically this:

I will be forming a Straight Talk Committee designed to provide direct and candid feedback to me. I have asked Steve Kukanza to lead that committee because of his track record of telling it like it is. 

Now, maybe "straight talk" has a different meaning within PwC, I don't know. But most of us would assume that this committee will be a group of people, led by Mr. Kukanza (great name, btw), who will tell Tim Ryan when he's doing a crappy job as Chairman and Senior Partner. I love this not only because I think more CEOs need the occasional ego check, but because Kukanza's sole qualification for this job is that he has no filter. I don't know how a person gets a "track record of telling it like it is" without letting people know that they suck or that something else sucks or that everything sucks. Of course this person would probably have to avoid being too negative but, still. Maybe Tim Ryan likes his feedback brutal and unrelenting? It's an interesting nuance to the firm's governance, to say the least.

You can read the entire email on the next page and discuss in the comments.