International Olympic Committee reappoints PwC

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”.

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Grant Thornton names three executives to Audit Quality Advisory Council

As part of its continued commitment to ‘quality without question,’ Grant Thornton LLP has named three executives to the firm’s Audit Quality Advisory Council. The three-person council now includes two independent members – Chris Mandaleris and Ann Yerger – and Grant Thornton Partnership Board member Seth Siegel.

As advisers to Grant Thornton’s Partnership Board, the council will provide deep, practical and objective advice regarding ways Grant Thornton can continue to deliver high audit quality. In so doing, this council will champion the audit profession and its role in supporting the trustworthiness of our public markets.

“At Grant Thornton, we are committed to delivering the highest quality audits to our clients,” said Mike McGuire, CEO of Grant Thornton. “Chris, Ann and Seth bring more than 75 years of combined professional services experience to our council and we look forward to working alongside them to strengthen our position as a leader in the profession for quality. This group will, in turn, help make our firm the auditor of choice for companies committed to excellence.”

Mandaleris, a retired Ernst & Young LLP Audit partner, joins the Audit Quality Advisory Council after having spent 25 years working in EY’s Audit practice and having helped open the firm’s Greensboro, North Carolina office. Most recently, he was the senior deputy director in the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board’s (PCAOB) inspections division. After 13 years with the PCAOB, Mandaleris retired in 2016 and dedicated his time to serving the Greek Orthodox Church in the southeast as a volunteer strategy, governance and internal control advisor. He is a certified public accountant (CPA) in Alabama and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Yerger joins Grant Thornton’s council after spending the past 20 years at the Council of Institutional Investors, where she served as the executive director. She has also served as the executive director of EY’s Center for Board Matters, as a member of the PCAOB’s Investor Advisory Group, and as a member of the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee. She also served on the U.S. Treasury Department’s Advisory Committee on the Auditing Profession. Yerger is currently a member of Spencer Stuart’s North American Board Practices and is an independent director of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, where she chairs the nominating and governance committee and serves as a member of its compensation committee.

Siegel, who serves as an Audit partner and as Grant Thornton’s Florida Audit practice leader, will function as the council’s Partnership Board representative. He joined the firm in 1996 and has more than 20 years of public accounting and corporate finance experience. He provides services to both publicly-traded and privately-held entities with a focus on companies in a variety of industries, including financial services, private equity, real estate, hospitality and energy. Siegel is a CPA in Florida and a member of the Florida Institute of CPAs and the AICPA.

Jeff Burgess, national managing partner of Audit Services at Grant Thornton, sums up the additions of Mandaleris, Yerger and Siegel by saying this: “These new members not only reaffirm our focus on quality above all else, but the council itself complements Grant Thornton’s approach to providing the audit of the future, which is built around innovation and quality.”

If you would like to find out more information about Grant Thornton’s audit initiative, please visit https://www.grantthornton.com/auditinnovation

About Grant Thornton LLP

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organisations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.8 billion and operates 58 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organisations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.