Speaking at the 134th session of the International Olympic Committee in Lausanne, chairman of the audit committee Baron Pierre-Olivier Beckers-Vieujant announced the committee’s recommendation to reappoint the Big Four firm.
“It is with complete confidence that the audit committee approved this proposal and recommended it to the executive board, which also approved this reappointment in the March session,” he said.
The 134th session then approved the reappointment by show of hands.
In August 2018, the IOC invited Deloitte, EY, PwC and KPMG to submit their proposals in a closed tendering process, which were then assessed by a selection board.
Baron Beckers-Vieujant said the audit committee decided to only include the Big Four as it believed these firms were the only ones capable of delivering on expectations from a global point of view and in line with the IOC’s reputation.
He added that the key argument in the firm’s favour was PwC’s “complete compliance with IOC’s highest standards in terms of the external auditors’ global independence vis-à -vis the IOC and the entire Olympic movement”.
He highlighted value for money and PwC’s commitment to reduce costs over the six-year term as key reasons supporting the choice – explaining that the Big Four firm had already offered to reduce costs in the first year from 402,000 Swiss francs (£324,800) to 391,000 Swiss francs.
Baron Beckers-Vieujant also noted that, although it is not mandatory, the audit committee requested PwC’s audit team change its leadership, as the IOC was “driven to make sure that from all angles they would maintain the highest level of independence expected by the session and the general public”.
PwC will serve a six-year term as the IOC audit committee wanted to align the appointment with the four-year Olympiad cycle.
Baron Beckers-Vieujant said that “since we are in the middle of one, we would appoint [PwC] for two plus four years if you will, and afterwards reappoint or appoint new [firms] for four-year terms”.
He also noted that under Swiss law the firm has to be reappointed by vote on a yearly basis.
Last week, PwC was appointed auditor for pharmaceutical company Diurnal Group following a formal tender process and, pending shareholder confirmation the November AGM, will audit the company’s accounts for the year ended June 2020.
PwC will succeed KPMG and according to a statement from Diurnal Group, KPMG confirmed that it was not aware of anything “connected with its termination as auditor that it consider should be brought to the attention of the board, creditors or shareholders of the company”.