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PwC’s Head of Assurance Is Gonna Try Something New

Tim Ryan, who has led PwC's Assurance practice for the last four years is taking on a new role in firm as US Markets, Strategy, and Stakeholders Leader and Vin Colman, the East Region Vice Chair will take his place. 
We obtained a copy of the email Mr. Ryan sent to PwC Assurance staff informing them of the change (he assumes you read PwC News, where Bob Moritz told everyone the news, but we all know you didn't). You can read it in full on the next page.
Mr. Ryan was one of two partners on AIG when it turned into a barrel of monkeys in 2008 and has led the audit practice since 2010. In the years that he did lead the practice, the firm's inspection weren't exactly stellar, the 2011 report being especially cringe-worthy (2012 inspection reports have yet to be released). However, the firm's response was a veiled challenge for the PCAOB to get better at their jobsTim Ryan was, of course, one of the signors of the letter. And when the Board released Part II of the firm's 2008 and 2009 reports, Mr. Ryan had the unenviable task of being the man out front, even though he wasn't head of the practice during those years.
I spoke to Mr. Ryan briefly by phone and while he says he will miss leading the assurance practice and that there's still improvements to be made in the group, he's very much looking forward to his new role. That new role, incidentally, is new-ish and it includes a "broader focus on stakeholders" he told me. In other words, he'll be taking a little less grief from the PCAOB, and getting more of it from investor groups, regulators from other countries, policy makers, employees, and anyone else who wants to be a PwC stakeholder, I guess. He insisted he'll still get to deal with the PCAOB now and then but to a lesser extent, which, we're told, will be unfortunate news for the Board, because Tim is so well-liked (this has yet to be confirmed).
Mr. Ryan is highly regarded inside PwC; one person told us, "He might be the nicest guy at this firm…he has done wonders for the flexibility culture." Being the unflappable executive that he is, that flexibility was something he reiterated to me as something he continues to work on, even though he's no longer going to be involved in the assurance practice. He's also one of the hosts of the firm's Thanksgiving celebration in New York, an event that they've been doing since 2010. 
It'll be interesting to see how things pan out over the next year now that Mr. Ryan is moving on from assurance. The 2012 inspection report will be on his watch as well any Part IIs for 2010, 2011, and 2012, should the PCAOB decide to release them. Of course, it could mark the beginning of the great audit quality turn around at firm. Gosh, that would be pretty boring for us.
In either case, we know who we'll hold responsible.
From:        Tim Ryan 
To:        PwC US Assurance Staff 
Date:        07/18/2013 11:38 AM 
Subject:        Thank You 
As you read in Bob's communication in PwC News this morning, Vin Colman is assuming the role of your US Assurance Leader as I take on the new role of US Markets, Strategy, and Stakeholders Leader. I just want to take a moment to thank all of you for everything you've done for the success of our practice and our firm. Over the past four years, I've been consistently inspired by and proud of all of your accomplishments: delivering audit quality as our top priority … helping our clients as they fulfill their reporting obligations and addressing their complex business issues in a turbulent economic environment … transforming our business model to further enable quality and make our success more sustainable … developing and growing our core audit and non-audit businesses … growing and developing our people, while driving flexibility … to name just a few highlights. As I've said before, and as I'll continue saying for the rest of my career, I could not be more proud of all that you've achieved. You've made a real and lasting difference for all of our stakeholders! For me personally, it's been a special honor and privilege to have been your leader — thank you! 
In my new role, I'll be focused on working with our teams to deliver on our One Firm strategy — here in the US and across the global network. And, of course, staying focused on our clients. I'll be working closely with Dana Mcilwain in his new role as the US Services Leader and all of our LOS teams to ensure we are adapting our business to the ever-changing market conditions and the opportunities they create. I know I can count on each of you for your continued feedback and ideas as I assume these new responsibilities. 
I'm sure that many of you know Vin, who previously served as our US Assurance Managing Partner and National Office Leader, in addition to his current roles as the [Global Engagement Partner] on AIG and East Region Vice Chair. He is an exceptional leader with the perfect combination of talent and experience that will take the Assurance practice to the next phase of our journey. He'll be reaching out to you shortly, but in the meantime, please join me in congratulating Vin on his new role! 
Best regards,