Stephen Griggs appointed UK Managing Partner of Deloitte

14 September 2020 3 min. read
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Deloitte has appointed Stephen Griggs as its new UK Managing Partner. The news comes as Deloitte rolls out changes to its governance structure, as it becomes the first of the Big Four accounting firms to make headway with demands from the audit market regulator.

A former Andersen Partner, Stephen Griggs joined Deloitte in 2005. Over the course of his 15 years at Deloitte, Griggs has come to specialise in leading large public company audits and transaction projects across a broad range of industry sectors.

Initially serving as the firm’s Midlands Leader for audit and assurance, by 2015 he had been named Deloitte’s UK Chief Financial Officer, before being appointed its North South Europe Leader for audit and assurance two years later.

Last year, Griggs was also named Deputy CEO and Managing Partner for the firm’s audit and assurance and public policy wing. Now, as Deloitte’s UK operations prepare for a major organisational shakeup, Griggs has been announced as the firm’s new UK Managing Partner. The promotion will see him preside over Deloitte’s separation of audit and consulting wings, to comply with reforms set out by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC). 

Stephen Griggs, UK Managing Partner, Deloitte

Deloitte UK Chief Executive Officer Richard Houston commented, “I am delighted to announce Stephen in this role, where he will be responsible for business performance, operations and public policy for Deloitte UK. We will work closely together as I remain the UK CEO – with Stephen leading on all operational matters.”

Splitting audit and advisory

As the UK’s audit industry regulator, in July the FRC announced plans to force top accounting and advisory firms to separate profits relating to their different lines of work. The move will see profit distributions to partners who run audits only receive profits made through audit work, something the Financial Reporting Council hopes will prevent the conflicts of interest allegedly at the heart of a number of major accounting scandals.

Deloitte is the first member of the Big Four – the world’s four largest professional services firms, also including PwC, EY and KPMG – to act on the FRC’s orders. Part of the operational changes Griggs will oversee to this end includes the setting up of an audit governance board (AGB). Effective from New Year’s Day 2021, the AGB will have responsibility for providing independent oversight of the UK audit practice, with a focus on the policies and procedures for improving audit quality.

Griggs said of the coming changes, “We’ve been consistent in our support for audit reform, and remain committed to playing our role in delivering change that embraces audit quality, improves choice and restores trust. However, while governance changes to audit businesses are a key element of audit reform, they must be considered alongside a wider package of change, including in areas such as corporate reporting, the role of directors, the evolution of the audit product and the regulatory environment... Sweeping reform is needed if we are to better meet society’s needs and expectations of the audit profession in the years ahead.”

Baroness Margaret Ford will be appointed as Non-Executive Chair of the AGB when it is established. It will also have a majority of independent Non-Executive directors, including Jim Coyle, Almira Delibegovic-Broome and Shirley Garrood.

Deloitte’s auditing overhaul follows reports in the British media which suggested the Big Four firm had commenced secret talks mooting the sale of its UK restructuring division. The move is thought to be motivated by a belief among Big Four leaders that their restructuring wings are likely to be inhibited by the changes the FRC is pushing for.

A successor for Grigg’s role as managing partner for audit & assurance will be in place by the start of October 2020.