Sharon Thorne to become Global Chair of Deloitte

07 March 2019 4 min. read
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Deloitte Partner Sharon Thorne has been announced as the future Chair of the Big Four firm’s global board. The London-based company stalwart will become the first woman to serve in the role when she assumes the position in June 2019.

Global auditing and advisory firm Deloitte is undergoing a major period of change across its international wings, as it prepares for a busy 2019. The firm recently announced it had completed the process of replacing outgoing North West Europe CEO David Sproul – who has served the maximum two terms in office – with UK Consulting boss Richard Houston. Coinciding with Houston’s appointment, which will take effect in June 2019, it has now been confirmed that Sharon Thorne will take the position of the Chair for Deloitte’s global board of directors.

Thorne had initially been touted as a possible successor for Sproul, as she currently occupies the position of Deputy Chief Executive for North-West Europe, having been reported as a candidate for the top job during the Summer of 2018. As the story progressed, however, insiders suggested she was not formally ‘in the race.’ Instead, she will succeed out-going Chair David Cruickshank, who has completed his four-year term, on the back of an eight-year stint as Chair of the Deloitte’s UK board.

Sharon Thorne to become Global Chair of Deloitte

An audit partner with more than 30 years of experience auditing and advising clients across a broad range of sectors, Thorne is currently based in London, having spent more than 20 years of her career based out of Deloitte UK's Manchester office. Her present role has seen her responsible for the global dimension of Deloitte North West Europe's strategy, on top of which her CV boasts significant governance experience, including nine years spent on the Deloitte global board, six years on the Deloitte UK board, four years as Chair of Deloitte CIS Holdings, and six years on the Board of the Confederation of British Industry.

When she takes up her role in June 2019, Thorne will become the first woman to serve as Deloitte’s Global Chair, a fitting testament to a Partner who has also been a leading advocate for inclusion within Deloitte. Championing the firm's commitment to creating an inclusive workplace, Thorne has previously been named among the OUTstanding ranking of LGBT+ executives and allies, and has served as executive sponsor for the Deloitte UK LGBT+ network since 2010. She was also the first woman appointed to the UK firm's Executive in 2006, holding the role of Managing Partner Talent, and set up the firm's diversity networks in 2007.

Deloitte’s in-bound Chair also brings with her a reputation for forthright public comments, having famously tweeted that the then-Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, was "a national embarrassment." The move demonstrated a steadfast refusal to mince words on Thorne’s part, even during a delicate period. Just months before, Deloitte was effectively forced to implement a self-imposed six-month ban on bids for central government contracts after a leaked memo suggested the firm believed the UK Government had no “overall negotiation strategy” for Brexit.

Commenting on her new challenge with Deloitte, Thorne said, "As Global Chair, my focus will be on evolving our governance model in support of our global strategic ambitions, and positioning the Board to stay ahead of the complex challenges presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I will also focus on continuing to strengthen Deloitte's commitment to inclusion and putting our purpose at the heart of all we do."

David Cruickshank, Deloitte’s incumbent Global Chair, added, "Sharon and I have served together on the Global Board and I've had the chance to see first-hand the unique skills and leadership capabilities she will bring to this role, including her substantive governance experience and proven track record in the UK and globally. As the first woman to lead the Global Board, she will achieve an important milestone in Deloitte's history, especially fitting as we celebrate International Women's Day this week.”

Punit Renjen, Deloitte’s Global CEO, meanwhile remarked, "Sharon's leadership has made Deloitte stronger globally. Her vision for the Global Board is built around her aspiration to make a positive impact in the world and backed up by a career full of action, especially as an unflinching advocate for a more diverse and inclusive workplace. I look forward to working with Sharon in her new role to further our collective purpose-driven vision for Deloitte.”