We've clearly got an Above Top Secret member hanging around the tip box this afternoon: […]
Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria to Retire to Pursue Life in Public Service Mr. Echevarria has been […]
As you may recall, after Joe Echevarria became CEO of Deloitte in 2011, we learned that his house in Westchester was up for grabs with an asking price of $2.8 million. The 6,000 square-foot spread had hit the market in March of that year listed at $3 mil, so you can safely assume that Joe and his wife Ana were anxious to move the thing.
Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria is confident in his firm's ability to create jobs. He told […]
Earlier today we were informed that Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria was a commencement speaker at […]
You don’t have to be Bob Woodward to recognize the formulaic nature of the CEO interview. Reporter goes to CEO’s office, asks loaded questions about the issues of the day, describes the view from the office, elaborates on the person’s exercise regimen, humble (or not so humble) beginnings, people they admire, yada yada yada. Cripes, reading these things makes you want to shave with broken glass but hey! editors get in ruts just li we’re stuck with the puff. By extension, interviews with Big 4 CEOs are worse because they typically occur with General Counsel sitting in the next room zapping their genitals every time a question is asked that necessitates “I can’t comment on that.”
Today’s example comes courtesy of Reuters who interviewed Deloitte’s Joe Echevarria. What prompted this little chat was the PCAOB’s release of Part II of the firm’s 2008 inspection report. It wasn’t exactly a flattering portrayal of a firm who, when asked to brush up on their audit skills, basically told the PCAOB to drop dead.
Accordingly, the firm is running damage control and that involves getting Joe E. in front of some friendly reporters (read: not Jon Weil or Francine McKenna).
Recently faulted by the main U.S. auditor watchdog, Deloitte has told its professionals that skepticism should be the No. 1 focus during the upcoming auditing season for annual financial reports, CEO Joe Echevarria said.
“I know there’s a heightened awareness about professional skepticism in the firm,” he said. “It’s going to take a while for heightened awareness to manifest itself in actions and documentation because humans are involved here.”
The natural follow-up question here would be, “But Mr. Echevarria, the PCAOB asked you to fix things in 2008-2009, are you saying that you’re now just ‘manifesting itself in actions’?” but that brings out the zapper. That’s okay, we’re all used to it. You know what else we’re used to? Talking about the “expectations gap”:
There is an “expectations gap” between what auditors do and what the public expects, but auditors do have an obligation to detect and report material fraud, Echevarria said.
Echevarria is also asked about auditor rotation, IFRS and (for some odd reason) its settlement over the Adelphia fraud in 2005. Why not ask about the swinging insider trading scandal? What about Taylor, Bean & Whitaker? What about associates sneaking bloggers into the downtown W? WHAT ABOUT THIS FAUX TARA REID MARRIAGE? People want these all-important questions on the record and yet it never happens. Sigh.
By the way since it’s obvious that some of you care about these details, Joe is from the Bronx and his office is in Midtown.
Deloitte pressing for more skeptical audits (God, the headline is even awful) [Reuters]
Deloitte has announced today that Joe Echevarria will become the new CEO and Punit Renjen (who is oddly well-coifed for a leader at Deloitte) the new Chairman Board of the firm effective June 1. None of this is really news to anyone that frequents this site since we reported who the candidates were back in February. Joe takes over for Barry Salzberg who will assume the global CEO position and Punit will assume the Chairman role from Sharon Allen who is retiring.
[caption id="attachment_29175" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Renjen"][/caption]
This officially marks the end of the Deloitte election process that we brought to light after a partner reached out to us over concerns that the process is seriously flawed (or in that partner’s words, “broken”). Whether or not the rumored poor turnout had any effect on the timing is not known but the results remain the same, much to the chagrin of many partners at the firm who share the frustration of a unrepresentative election process.
Both guys seem genuinely pleased with the result, “I am deeply honored to be elected by my partners and principals to be CEO of this great firm. As the largest professional services organization in the U.S., we have an obligation to lead,” said Echevarria. “Excellence in all of the professional services we provide constitutes the foundation of our success. As markets were shaken and major players disappeared overnight, we’ve made a clear choice to focus on superior performance, innovation and growth across all our practice areas. Great firms are growth firms.”
And Renjen, “This is a great privilege, and I deeply appreciate the partnership’s confidence in me,” he said. “I share Sharon Allen’s vision for Deloitte – to be the ‘Standard of Excellence.’ Setting this standard demands effective governance, transparency, accountability and uncompromised quality. I am committed to leading the board in providing valuable oversight and strategic guidance to management, and also to representing our exceptional organization and culture with external stakeholders.”
Congratulate your new leaders, green dots; these are the men you’ll be receiving a monstrous number of emails from for the next four years.
Earlier this month our resident big man on campus, DWB, put out a call for all the schwagtacular gear that recruits were snatching up this fall. We didn’t get much for submissions at first but luckily a friend from the north passed along photos that ranged from “a bunch of junk” to Dr. Seuss to a PwC cookie describe as “soft” and “amazing.”
Things have quieted down since then but thankfully, another enterprising young recruit who is right in the wheelhouse of recruiting passed along a couple more pics that include examples of loot from Deloitte and Grant Thornton.
First our tipster’s thoughts on GT’s offering: “The GT cup is ok but the straw is totally useless.” And for the gazillionth time, purple just sucks.
According to our tipster, the Deloitte sanitizer is really the most perplexing item: “I am not sure what to think of Deloitte’s hand sanitizer.”
So what do we make of this? It’s not a surprise that Deloitte isn’t a “If it’s brown flush it down; if it’s yellow keep it mellow” kinda place but what does this bottle of freshness really communicate? Do they simply think college students are unkempt? Is Deloitte making the assumption that all the recruits are applying there because the Occupy movement rejected their applications? Or, since there is fairly new leadership in place, does this speak more directly to the firm’s position on germs in general? Put simply: Are Joe Echevarria and Barry Salzgerg germophobes? I’m inclined to go with option 3 but would entertain other theories.
Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria and former President Bill Clinton at the Middle Market Perspectives Event in New York.
They really, really, really don’t appreciate it when you blow off their recommendations. Here’s the statement from the Board:
The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, in anticipation of questions about the publication of previously nonpublic portions of its May 19, 2008 inspection report on Deloitte & Touche LLP, issued the following statement today:
“The quality control remediation process is central to the Board’s efforts to cause firms to improve the quality of their audits and thereby better protect investors. The Board therefore takes very seriously the importance of firms making sufficient progress on quality control is n inspection report in the 12 months following the report. Particularly with the largest firms, which are inspected annually, the Board devotes considerable time and resources to critically evaluating whether the firm did in fact make sufficient progress in that period. The Board can and does make the relevant criticisms public when a firm has failed to do so.”
So to clarify, Deloitte had until May 19, 2009 to get their methods up to par but failed to do so. To put this into a little bit of context, Jim Doty was not yet the Chair of the PCAOB and Barry Salzberg was still the CEO of Deloitte’s U.S. firm. Does this mean that the PCAOB has been stepping up its game and this is the first instance of many to come? Hard to say but the audits that this inspection report cover are nearly five years old, so it’s debatable as to the value of Part II being made public now.
For Deloitte’s part, here’s current CEO Joe Echevarria’s statement:
“Deloitte is committed to the highest standards of audit quality and as newly elected CEO, it is my foremost priority. Our commitment extends from the top and cascades throughout our entire organization. We place great value on the PCAOB’s input and continue to work with the Board in support of our shared objectives. We recognize that audit quality is fundamental to protecting investors and ensuring the effective functioning of the capital markets.
“We have complete confidence in our professionals and the quality of our audits, and agree that there were and always will be areas where we can improve. In our drive for continuous improvement, we have been making a series of investments focused on strengthening and improving our practice, and will continue to do so to make Deloitte the standard for audit quality.”
In other words, a non-response response. However, it’s much more measured than Deloitte’s response to the initial release of the report. Their response letter spelled out their feelings quite clearly:
Professional judgments of reasonable and highly competent people may differ as to the nature and extent of necessary auditing procedures,conclusions reached and required documentation. We believe that reasonable judgments should not be second guessed and therefore disagree with a number of comments as indicated[.]
Deloitte’s letter is located Appendix C. You can read the full report, including all the details from Part II that were previously unpublished, on page 2.