New appointments take number of women on EY UK board to 50%

07 September 2018 3 min. read

EY has boosted the proportion of its UK board which are women to 50% in less than a year, following the publishing of its gender pay gap information in late 2017. Long-serving EY members Christabel Cowling and Sue Dawe have been added to the board to replace outgoing Eamonn McGrath and Alisdair Mann.

Since the release of EY’s gender and ethnicity pay gap data, the firm has been making a concerted effort to improve its diversity and representation. In late 2017, EY had largely attributed its gender pay gap to the higher number of men at senior levels and fewer in less senior positions. At the time, 40% of its UK board were women and 6% were BME. EY’s partnership in the UK meanwhile stood at currently 20% women, and 9% BME.

Less than a year later, EY UK has reported that its board is now operating at a 50:50 ratio. The September 2018 appointments of Christabel Cowling and Sue Dawe to the board of the Big Four firm, replacing Eamonn McGrath and Alisdair Mann, mean that 50% of the board are now women.

New appointments take number of women on EY UK board to 50%

Christabel Cowling has been Chief Operating Officer of Assurance for UK and Ireland at EY for four years, having been promoted to Partner in 2006. Having joined the firm in 2002, she had previously also worked as the Head of Audit for the North region, between 2011 and 2014, having moved to audit from the transaction advisory. Before joining EY, Cowling spent time with Big Four rival PwC, where she undertook her training and worked for eight years, becoming a chartered accountant with ICAEW in the process.

Sue Dawe heads up EY’s financial services firm in Scotland. She has held this specific role she since 2016, and has more than 25 years of experience in financial services. Dawe was made Audit Partner in 2009, the same year she took up the Europe, Middle East, India and Africa leadership role for EY’s wealth and asset management assurance wing. Previously an Executive Director, she has also held a variety of other roles at EY since joining in 1988. She trained as a chartered accountant with ICAS and is a member of Scotland’s Financial Services Advisory Board and the Scottish Financial Enterprise High Level Strategy Group.

The pair come in for Eamonn McGrath and Alisdair Mann. McGrath will be retiring from EY in December after 31 years as a Partner and 41 years with the firm. Meanwhile, following his appointment as EY’s Global Vice Chair, Treasury, Mann will be stepping down from the UK board after eight years of service.

Steve Varley, EY’s UK Chairman commented, “Christabel and Sue bring a wealth of experience and insight to the UK Board, having worked across a broad range of sectors and regions of the UK and advised an impressive list of clients… I would like to thank Eamonn and Alisdair for their hard work, wise counsel and support. They have had a real impact on the business and on me personally, and I wish them the best of luck for the next phase in their careers.”