James Schiro, 55, CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has unexpectedly announced his plan to step down as soon as a successor can be found.
During his tenure as CEO, Mr. Schiro oversaw the 1998 merger of Price Waterhouse and Coopers Lybrand, as well as the 2000 failed attempt to sell the firm's consultancy practice to Hewlett-Packard. Rough times as CEO included an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission into independence of the firm's auditors, and the recent $55 million settlement with the shareholders of MicroStrategy over the issue of a flawed audit.
Under the watchful eye of Mr. Schiro, PricewaterhouseCoopers, along with Ernst & Young, took a non-combative, cooperative approach with the SEC last year during the hearings on auditor independence.
The company predicts that it will be several months before a successor is named.