PwC Chief Criticizes Deloitte’s Decision to Keep Consulting

In a rare display of public discord among the Big Four firms, Samuel DiPiazza, chief executive of PricewaterhouseCoopers, has expressed concern over rival Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu’s decision to keep its consulting business in house, instead of selling it off as the other large firms have done.

He believes that decision shows a "lack of sensitivity" and runs counter to other firms’ efforts to help restore the profession’s integrity.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Mr. DiPiazza said this week’s decision from Deloitte could send the wrong message to a public that is looking for reform. "I'm surprised [Deloitte] reached that conclusion. We felt that the market was sending a clear message," he said.

Deloitte defended its position, restating that it would not offer consulting services to audit clients, and discussed its plans with regulators to keep the consulting business in house. "Our track record within the profession is unparalleled," a Deloitte spokesman said. "For example the Securities and Exchange Commission has never brought an enforcement action challenging the independence of the firm or any of its partners based upon scope of services."

But in the rare display of a lack of unity among the Big Four firm positions, PwC’s DiPiazza continued, "Maintaining a large consultancy business can send a wrong message . . . I think we have to be very focused on the public perception of what we do."

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