Julie Sweet to succeed Pierre Nanterme as Accenture CEO

15 July 2019 Consultancy.uk 4 min. read
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Accenture has appointed a woman as its global Chief Executive Officer for the first time in the firm's history. Julie Sweet takes the reins from Interim CEO David Rowland, who stepped in following the departure of the late Pierre Nanterme at the start of 2019.

The leader of Accenture's North America division has been handed the firm's top job as of September 2019. Julie Sweet – who previously appeared in Fortune's list of “Most Powerful Women” through multiple years – will take up over the position on a permanent basis from David Rowland in the Autumn, with the interim boss due to become Accenture's President-Commissioner as of then.

Rowland said of the news, “Julie is the right person to lead Accenture into the future, given her strong command of our business and proven ability to drive results in our largest market. We are on a positive growth trajectory at Accenture and are very well-positioned to continue building on our strong momentum. I am so pleased and proud that Julie will lead our company, and I am excited to work with her – along with our entire senior leadership team – to ensure a seamless transition and on Accenture’s next phase of growth and market leadership.”

Sweet has been working at Accenture for almost a decade, having joined following a 17-year stay with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, where she was a Partner. She became Accenture's North America CEO in 2015,  leading Accenture’s business in the United States, the company's largest market, and Canada, as well as becoming a member of Accenture’s Global Management Committee. As CEO of Accenture North America, Julie Sweet had announced that Accenture’s American operations hoped to get to a 50:50 gender balance in its workforce by 2025, in order to make sure men and women are equally represented among the firm’s ranks.

Julie Sweet, CEO - Accenture

According to Sweet, who is also co-Chair of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders, it was her corporate responsibility as CEO for Accenture North America to be a leader on equality. In the region, which houses the largest consulting industry in the world, Accenture was the first of the big professional services firms to publish their diversity statistics in 2017. Her latest promotion sees Sweet become the first global CEO of Accenture, at a time when the firm is pushing internationally to be seen as more diverse and inclusive.

Commenting on her new challenge, Sweet said, “I am truly honoured to lead our extraordinary company as Accenture’s CEO. I look forward to continuing to work closely with our exceptional senior leadership team, along with David, as our executive chairman, and our entire board of directors. Accenture has the most talented people and group of leaders in our industry. Together, we will capture the next waves of growth for Accenture by remaining laser-focused on serving our clients, creating significant value for our shareholders and providing the best career experiences for our people.”

When she assumes office in September, Sweet will formally succeed Pierre Nanterme, who surprised the world with the news he was stepping down at the start of the year. Taking the helm in 2011 at what is now one the world’s foremost technology-driven professional services firms, French-born Nanterme oversaw revenue growth at Accenture over the eight years leading to 2019, from roughly $25 billion to more than $40 billion. He exited with Accenture in a strong position, as it accelerated an aggressive market strategy across multiple sectors – including a booming creative wing which is currently said to be enjoying 20% growth.

Citing health reasons, Nanterme ended his dual tenure as CEO and Chair, leaving the global firm in the interim control of David Rowland. He stated at the time it was "the right decision for my family and me, so I can focus on my health," having been diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016. Sadly, just 20 days after ending his 36-year career at the consulting firm, Accenture's former CEO passed away at the age of 59.