October 29, 2020

Sharon Allen

Bank of America Gets It Some Sharon Allen

Bank of America announced today that perpetually hydrated former Deloitte Chairwoman Sharon Allen will be joining their board of directors effectively immediately. This appointment by a prominent company naming a former Big 4 bigwig to their BoD follows announcements by J.P. Morgan and Walmart that ex-KPMG Chairman Tim Flynn would be joining their boards. This is probably a good […]

Deloitte Announces Joe Echevarria as New CEO, Punit Renjen Chairman

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.


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.

[caption id="attachment_29175" align="alignright" width="150" caption="Renjen"][/caption]

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.

[via Deloitte]

Sharon Allen Copes with Travel By Staying Hydrated, Listening to Kenny Chesney

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen recently had a little chat with our friends at FINS as part of their coverage of Women in the Workplace series over the next two weeks. Ms. Allen will be coasting into retirement as her second term as the firm’s Chairman (her preferred term) comes to end.

The Allen interview covers all kinds of fun stuff so let’s get to it, starting with those pesky regulators:

Some of us are still getting comfortable to having the PCAOB sticking their beak into audits:

The public accounting arena has indeed changed a lot. It’s now a regulated profession with oversight that’s provided through the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. We are still, both the regulator and the profession, trying to work through that, with the common objective of improving audit quality. We’re learning how to work within a regulated environment that some years ago we just didn’t live with.


None of the firms chose to be the “Big 4” it just sorta worked out that way:

Just last week, we were talking at our global board meeting about how the profession got narrowed down to this number to begin with. The last reduction wasn’t the choice of the profession with [Arthur] Andersen out of business.

And speaking of four, she’s pretty comfortable with that number:

You have to have concentration of enough business to service the clients properly. If you spread that across eight firms, there just isn’t enough that supports that kind of that activity. In some of the major countries, the additional number of firms make sense, but when you look at it across the world, it doesn’t work. We’re not opposed to the competition; there are next-tier firms that are very good, and we encourage them to be in the mix in terms of proposal opportunities. It’s healthy. But the reality is the concentration will and probably should continue.

Term limits have somewhat led to SA’s retirement but there’s at least one person who’s especially happy about her quitting early:

I’m approaching the end of my second four-year term as chairman. We have a limit of two terms. While I’m not at mandatory retirement age yet, I concluded that it’s a really good time to make this move. I’ve had a fabulous 38-year career. But I’m also very comfortable with the transition leadership and the state of the firm. It’s a good time for me to leave at the top of my game. My husband is looking forward to spending more time with me.

FINS went ahead and asked Allen about the leadership election process, even though they already knew how the process went down.

We have a nomination process that we undertake. We interview through a nominating committee chosen by the board. They interview about 1,300 partners for their input on the type of attributes they’d like to see in the chairman and CEO positions. Then the committee interviews some individuals who match up with those qualities and ultimately proposed the nominated person.

One of the biggest challenges Allen has faced as Chairman was dealing with this clusterfuck of an economy. Luckily for the Green Dots out there, Deloitte management saw this coming and was able to save a bunch of you:

We were a little ahead of the game in anticipating the downturn that allowed us to prepare well for the difficult times to come. We had some reductions in our workforce, but they were not as substantial as they might have been had we not appropriately planned for the downturn.

And as a high-flying executive, there has to be coping mechanisms:

[Julie Steinberg of FINS]: How do you handle all the travel you do?

[Sharon Allen]: I drink a whole lot of water. I’m also fortunate to be able to adjust to time zone changes relatively easily. I work on domestic flights, and I do take my iPod and my computer.

JS: What are you listening to these days on your iPod?

SA: I’m a country music fan.

Chesney just came to mind for some reason (FYI Sharon: I can get you into the sold-out Red Rocks show, so reach out if you’re interested). But maybe she’s more of Toby Keith person, I can’t possibly know not having had the pleasure of seeing what ended up on the cutting-room floor. You’re invited to speculate as to artists (I’m pulling for Willie Nelson myself) and react to anything else you see above.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen on Big Four Domination, Self-Promotion and the Corporate Lattice [FINS]
Earlier: Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Never Misses Date Night, Discovered Early on That She Wasn’t Meant to be a Car Hop

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Will Be Having a ‘Big Party’ to Celebrate Her Retirement

Sharon Allen has spent 38 years at Deloitte. Doing the math on that, it probably feels more like a millennia. Accordingly, Ms. Allen has decided to hang up her green dot and chillax in Pasadena (Q&A with Accounting Today and we’ve picked out some of the highlights, including yes, a par-tay.


For starters, Sharon is a closer!

It’s a good time to leave when you’re on a high. I feel very confident in future leadership and the direction of our organization, and I think it’s just absolutely the right time to turn the reins over to others and proudly watch them continue to lead the firm in a good direction.

There will be a retirement rager, natch.

I’m going to have a big party. Yes.

Retirement will involve quality time with the hubby (but not so much that he goes nuts) and leading the Village People.

First of all I plan to spend a lot more time with my husband, family and friends, but of course there will probably be a limit on how much togetherness he can stand.[…] I have already committed to becoming the chairman of the board of the national YMCA board, which is an organization I’ve been involved with for over 25 years. I’m sure I will find ways to keep productively busy.

In case you weren’t aware, she doesn’t have a Y chromosome.

I am proud of many firsts that are in front of the titles I have carried. I was fortunate to be the first woman to become an office managing partner, the first woman to become a regional managing partner, the first woman to be elected to the board at Deloitte, and that’s been some years ago now. But I have to say my proudest accomplishment, I believe, was to have been elected as the first independent chairman of Deloitte’s board of directors. We separated our chairman and CEO role and created a full-time independent executive chairman of the board. It is an elected position by our partners, and I was very proud to be elected to that role. I always say, “Oh, by the way, I’m a woman.” It’s a very important distinction for me.

She’s more like you than you think – she got passed up for a manager promotion because her supervisor was clueless!

[P]erhaps one of the most important challenges that I had as I was coming up through my career also turned out to be one of my best lessons. That was when I was about four years into the firm and I expected an early promotion to manager, and I was passed over for that promotion. Interestingly, as I walked into my supervisor’s office and clicked off all the reasons why I thought I should have had the promotion and had earned it, he kind of sat back in his chair and looked at me and said, “I didn’t even know you did all those things.”

What about this boys club mentality?

I do think that there still is an underrepresentation of women in senior leadership in business generally and certainly in the board room of corporate organizations today. I do believe that organizations need to examine how they are recruiting, how they assure women are proportionally given the best assignments.

You know, back in the day, we basically had to come to work in drag.

There is a very big difference between today’s women and women of my era when I started in the profession because, in those days, honestly, you almost had to pretend there were no differences. I came up in the business world of wearing a suit and a little bow tie and trying to dress like the men and, of course, fortunately, men and women both can acknowledge the difference and benefit from that.

Leave Sharon your well wishes (or food and entertainment requests) below and if you get invited to this party, email us the pictures.

Deloitte’s Sharon Allen Never Misses Date Night, Discovered Early on That She Wasn’t Meant to be a Car Hop

The L.A. Times ran a brief sit-down with Sharon Allen, the Deloitte Board Chairman (her preferred term) over the weekend and it has the typical clichéd whathaveyous about her background – education is important; her great-grandmother was an early role ght-talker, values are important, yada yada yada.

Anyway, despite those snoozy details, there are a few interesting bits to share including that she doesn’t live in New York (gasp), everyone in her entourage is in a different city and some profound insight into differences between her home state – Idaho – and her current state:

The former Midwesterner chooses to live in Pasadena instead of New York, where Deloitte maintains its headquarters. “California is quite different when you think that the whole state of Idaho has [1.5] million people,” Allen said [WOW!]. She’s lived in Southern California for years. Before being elected chairman, Allen was based in Los Angeles as Deloitte’s managing partner for the Pacific Southwest region. Technology and careful coordination allow Allen and other members of her team to live across the map: Her executive assistant is in Portland, Ore.; her chief of staff lives in New York; and her speechwriter is in Charlotte, N.C.

For now, let’s just say for the sake of argument that the head of the largest professional services firm on Earth can live somewhere other than New York. We realized that for a lot of you this is contrary to everything you stand for but apparently Deloitte is pulling it off.

As for her childhood, Sharon gave the more physical labor intensive and service industry path a shot but soon discovered that agriculture nor a career on roller skates were in her future:

She worked for a time on the farm as a kid and then as a car hop in high school, but said she lacked talent at both. “I learned very early that I wasn’t very good on the farm,” she said. “And as a car hop, I dumped an entire tray of soft drinks into someone’s car once.”

As for how she got hooked on accounting, it was like smack for her. One taste was all it took:

[H]er roommate was an accounting major and talked her into dipping a toe into the business world. “I was hooked from the time I took the first class,” she said. She switched her major to accounting soon after.

And she managed to resist the 1970s accounting firm boys’ club:

Allen was often the lone female in her accounting courses. The trend continued once she started at Touche Ross, a predecessor to Deloitte. Allen turned it to her advantage. “People found a way to recognize and notice me,” she said. “While being a woman in a predominantly male profession early in my career, it would have been easy to adjust my style and focus on doing stuff like the men did. I learned I could be successful by doing it my own way.”

Without more details, it’s difficult to determine what she means by “doing it my way.” It’s unlikely that they were asking her to pee standing up. Or that they expected her to go bald, like some people.

Now that she’s a bigwig at a Big 4 firm that has to jet all over the world doing…things, you might think it would be easy for her to forget where she came from. NOPE! No matter where she is, Sharon is always back in SoCal for Friday date night to make sure the man of the house isn’t just lying around, letting himself go while she’s out moving and shaking:

Friday date nights are sacred. No matter where Allen is in the world, she places top priority on flying home every week to spend time with her husband, Rich (they’ve been married for 38 years), who was also her high school sweetheart.

In other words, she’s heading back home to ensure that Richard chases off the freeloading friends and babes that are hanging out at the manse all week. Or maybe it’s love. Either way, it sounds like she runs a tight ship.

And no doubt, that obsession/love translated into something that helped SA become the highest ranking woman at a Big 4 firm. An impressive feat no matter where you stand. But frankly, from Deloitte’s perspective, she’s the most visible leader that’s not pulling a Costanza. You can’t put a price on that.

Accounting for her success [Los Angeles Times]