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September 26, 2023

Wirecard Drama of the Day: Hubert Barth Was Most Likely Forced Out as EY Germany CEO

Whether it’s in the sports world or the business world, whenever you see a press release or an article that says, “[PERSON’S NAME] is stepping down from [HIS/HER] role as [EXECUTIVE JOB TITLE] and will be taking another position with the [TEAM NAME/COMPANY NAME],” it’s because that person sucked at his/her job or something bad happened underneath that person’s watch and that individual was forced out and assigned to some lesser job at a desk in a dark basement somewhere never to be seen again.

It took EY long enough to remove Hubert Barth (sorry, made it look like Hubert Barth willingly stepped down) as CEO of EY Germany because of that whole Wirecard mess, but it’s finally happening, according to today’s Financial Times:

Hubert Barth, who has led EY in Germany since 2016, is expected to take another position within the company, the people said, adding that his departure from the top job could be announced as early as Thursday.

The change still needs to be formally signed off at board meetings in Germany on Thursday, the people said.

Barth’s expected move comes a day after EY announced a reorganisation of its operations in western Europe that will group together businesses with combined revenues of $4.65bn and 27,000 employees.

As Wirecard’s longstanding auditor, EY has been under intense pressure since the payments firm collapsed into insolvency in one of Germany’s largest accounting frauds. EY had previously issued unqualified audits for Wirecard for about a decade.

Reuters reported today that Barth will be replaced by Henrik Ahlers and Jean-Yves Jegourel as part of that western Europe reorganization:

The new programme, dubbed Trust in Quality, will focus on fostering a culture of professional scepticism and of challenging systems and processes as well as on strengthening governance, EY Germany said in a statement on Thursday.

It will include training programmes and a new risk committee. EY said it will also appoint a committee of independent experts to evaluate the company’s progress.

EY overhauls German partnership in effort to repair Wirecard damage [Financial Times]
EY Germany head steps down in wake of Wirecard scandal [Reuters]

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