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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”.

Roland Berger appoints eight new partners in Europe

In home-country Germany, Frank Pietras and Uwe Weichenhain have joined the firm’s leadership. Pietras is based in Roland Berger’s Munich office and is an automotive expert. He specialises in automotive advisory, commercial due diligence, growth strategy, market & product strategy and business processes transformation.

Uwe Weichenhain has been with the consultancy for over a decade, and has been named a partner in the firm’s Energy & Infrastructure arm. He is an expert in new technologies that drive the transition towards sustainable infrastructure, including offshore wind, power transmission, gas and LNG, hydrogen, and digital technologies.

In the Netherlands, where Roland Berger has a team of around 100 consultants based in Amsterdam, Koen Besteman and Sameer Mehta have been promoted to partner level. Besteman specialises in the life sciences, and biopharma industry, supporting companies with innovation management, new market development, business cases, and setting up value models for research projects and portfolios. He also has gained extensive experience supporting universities with strategic and financing topics.

Having joined Roland Berger in 2010, Sameer Mehta focuses on merger & acquisition and investor support services. He works with private equity firms and corporate clients on topics related to due diligence, growth & performance improvement and restructuring. Mehta advises clients in a broad range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, healthcare and industrial products, with a particular focus on automotive, media, technology and steel.

In Sweden, Benny Guttman has been appointed a partner in the Gothenburg office. He has previously worked for three consulting firms, Accenture, EY and McKinsey & Company, prior to joining Roland Berger in 2017. In between consulting, he spent eight years at Volvo, the last six of which he was Senior Vice President at Volvo Logistics where he headed Strategy, Corporate Values and Operational Development. Guttman’s work is focused around strategic and operational improvement at clients in the automotive, manufacturing, med-tech and retail industries.

Artem Zakomirnyi has been serving the consulting firm for over twelve years, working from the offices in Moscow, Russia, and Kiev, Ukraine. He specialises in strategic and operations work in the consumer goods and retail industries. Zakomirnyi also has a deep understanding of supply chain and logistics topics, for both the traditional retail as well as online (e-commerce) retail channels.

Based in Bucharest, Romania, Szabolcs Nemes has been with the firm since 2001, in the period developing industry expertise in energy & utilities, telecommunications and transportation. His functional expertise spans strategy development, large-scale transformation, definition of new organisation models, operational excellence and efficiency improvement. Nemes supports clients in Romania and throughout the Central Eastern European region.

Last but not least, the Frenchman Pierre-Antoine Bodin, who has been named a partner in Roland Berger’s Pharma and Healthcare practice. Prior to joining the management consultancy in 2012, he spent eight years in various supply chain and marketing positions at pharma companies Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer.

Beyond the eight new partners in Europe, Roland Berger also promoted four partners in Asia and the Middle East.

IPC Wins Two 2019 SBR Technology Excellence Awards

IPC, a leading global provider of secure, compliant communications and networking solutions for the financial markets community, today announces the win of two awards in the 2019 Singapore Business Review Technology Excellence Awards.

Best Connectivity for Financial Services – Connexus Cloud earned IPC the award for “Connectivity for Financial Services”. IPC’s Connexus Cloud is a high-performance financial markets cloud solution for data, voice and enterprise communications and compliance. Connexus Cloud helps firms trade faster, scale with greater ease, and achieve greater agility, productivity and efficiency, resulting in a significant competitive advantage.

Best Infrastructure Technology for Financial Services – IPC’s Unigy platform was named the winner of the “Infrastructure Technology for Financial Services” category. Unigy, IPC’s flagship solution, has been recognised globally for years as the industry’s dominant trading and communications platform. It is a widely adopted, secure, compliant, end-to-end solution purpose-built to address the specific needs of the global regulated financial markets community.

“We are excited by the success and recognition of Connexus Cloud and Unigy in the Asia Pacific market” said Bruce Malsen, Vice President of APAC sales at IPC. “We will continue to deliver our promise of excellent service, thereby enabling companies in the financial sector to mitigate risks, diversify and protect their assets, and seize opportunities to build wealth for their customers.”

To express its appreciation for innovative technological solutions with a wide-ranging influence, Singapore Business Review (SBR) pays tribute to firms that have launched extraordinary products, services, and strategies in the past two years. To be recognised at the 2019 SBR Technology Excellence Awards, nominees have to meet the criteria of uniqueness and innovation, effectiveness and impact, and dynamism, which are essential elements of success in the digital era.

The inaugural awards ceremony was held on May 30, 2019 at the Conrad Centennial Singapore.

This year’s nominations were judged by a panel consisting of Cheang Wai Keat, Head of Advisory of Ernst & Young LLP; Darwin Thio, Director, Cybersecurity & Technology Services of Nexia TS; KPMG Head of Cybersecurity Daryl Pereira; Evelyn Lim, Executive Director, Tax Advisory of BDO LLP, and; Jonathan Kok, Co-Head of Technology, Media & Communications Industry Group of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP.

About IPC

IPC is a technology and service leader powering the global financial markets. We help clients anticipate change and solve problems, setting the standard with industry expertise, exceptional service and comprehensive technology. With a customer-first mentality, IPC brings together one of the largest and most diverse global financial ecosystems spanning all asset classes and market participants. As the enabler of this ecosystem, IPC empowers the community to interact, transact and react to market changes and challenges, and we collaborate with our customers to help make them secure, productive, compliant and connected. Visit IPC.com and follow us on Linkedin and Twitter.

If you would like to find out more information, please visit https://www.ipc.com/

EY appoints Ally Scott as managing partner of Scottish operations

EY has for the first time appointed someone who is not a chartered accountant to head its Scottish operation, and flagged major hiring plans.

Ally Scott, who joined the accountancy firm’s Scottish operation from banking giant Barclays in autumn 2016 as head of transaction advisory services, will succeed Mark Harvey as EY’s managing partner for Scotland on July 1. Mr Harvey will remain a partner of EY until next April, before joining car retailing giant Arnold Clark as chief financial officer in the summer of 2020.

A spokeswoman for EY confirmed that Mr Scott would be the first leader of the Scottish business who was not a chartered accountant.

EY highlighted its ambitions to increase its current Scottish workforce of about 1,000 by 25 per cent over the next 12 months.

The spokeswoman said: “We are going to be recruiting at all levels of seniority but also across all service lines. It is in all geographies as well. It is across the office network.”

EY has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness and Aberdeen.

The accountancy firm noted Mr Scott had led the firm’s Scottish transaction advisory services practice to 15% and 21% growth in its last two financial years, “helping secure deals for prominent Scottish clients such as Simon Howie Group, QTS Group and Weir Group”.

EY noted Mr Harvey had, since taking on the Scotland managing partner role in 2015, raised the annual revenues of the accountancy firm’s Scottish business from about £100 million to £170m.

Mr Scott, who joined Royal Bank of Scotland as a 16-year-old trainee and worked for the Edinburgh-based institution from 1985 to 2005 before joining Barclays, said: “It’s a real honour to take up the role of managing partner. Under Mark’s leadership, EY has enjoyed significant growth in Scotland, securing notable client wins across all service lines and investing in our product offering to support a broader range of businesses.”

He added: “Our ambition to increase headcount to 1,250 staff across all levels in the next 12 months is a strong signal of our intent to build on that momentum. It’s an exciting time to be part of our business. Our continued investment in technology and automation has resulted in our Edinburgh office becoming EY’s UK centre of excellence in data analytics and provides our clients with an exceptional level of strategic insight and clarity in decision-making.”

The EY spokeswoman noted some of the new jobs would be in the data analytics, automation and digital area, but emphasised hiring would be broadly based, citing a ramping up of activity across assurance, advisory and tax operations.

Britain’s 2nd biggest steel maker enters insolvency

British Steel, the country’s second largest steel producer has entered into compulsory liquidation, said British government’s Insolvency Service in a press release on Wednesday.

It said that the High Court ordered British Steel into compulsory liquidation the same day, and the Official Receiver was appointed as liquidator.

“The immediate priority following my appointment as liquidator of British Steel is to continue safe operation of the site,” said the Official Receiver in a statement.

EY has been appointed as special manager by the Official Receiver.

“The company in liquidation is continuing to trade and supply its customers while I consider options for the business,” the Official Receiver said, “Staff have been paid and will continue to be employed.”

The company had reportedly been seeking emergency funds of 30 million pounds (about 38 million U.S. dollars) from the government, blaming “Brexit-related issues” for its difficulties.

The company’s collapse would put its 5,000 employees directly and 20,000 more in the supply chain at risk, local media reported.

Business Secretary Greg Clark called it a “deeply worrying time” for employees and local communities in a statement on British Steel Wednesday.

However, he noted, “The government can only act within the law, which requires any financial support to a steel company to be on a commercial basis. I have been advised that it would be unlawful to provide a guarantee or loan on the terms of any proposals that the company or any other party has made.”

“In the days and weeks ahead, I will be working with the Official Receiver and a British Steel support group of management, trade unions, companies in the supply chain and local communities, to pursue remorselessly every possible step to secure the future of the valuable operations in sites at Scunthorpe, Skinningrove and on Teesside,” he added.

The government admitted that it has already provided the company with a 120 million pounds (152 million dollars) bridging facility to enable it to meet its emissions trading compliance costs.

In 2016, Private equity group Greybull Capital purchased the company from Tata Steel for a nominal 1 pound (1.27 dollars) during the depths of the steel crisis.

Infrastructure new PHOTO

National Infrastructure Awards winners announced

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has announced the winners of the 2019 National Infrastructure Awards.

Convened annually, the Awards recognise excellence in public administration and business, across major projects.

The Awards were overseen by an independent judging panel, comprising:

  • Ms Leilani Frew, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Project and Financing Agency (Chair)
  • Ms Kim Curtain, Interim Deputy Secretary, Trade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts, NSW Treasury
  • Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Mr Jason Loos, Director, Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria
  • Mr Neil Scales, Director-General, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

The winners and finalists for each category in the 2019 Awards are as follows:

Project of the Year: Westconnex

Winner/s: NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW (Roads and Maritime Services) and their advisors Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Goldman Sachs, Newgate Australia, Turner & Townsend, and PwC. Sydney Transport Partners (Transurban, AustralianSuper, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and Tawreed Investments) and their advisors; Advisian, Aquasia, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and WSP.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra) and their advisors; Arup, Clayton Utz, EY, HASSEL Studio, RPS Group, Sparke Helmore, Turner & Townsend, and WSP. Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL) and their advisors; AECOM, Architectus, CAF, Herbert Smith Freehills, R-Co, and SMEC.
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Arcadis, Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.
  • Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline – GHD, Jacobs, John Holland, MPC Kinetic, TRILITY, and WaterNSW

Advisory Excellence Award: Sydney Metro Martin Place integrated development

Winner/s: Advisors to Transport for NSW; Ashurst, CBRE, KPMG. Advisors to Macquarie Group; Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Capital, MinterEllison, PwC, and Arup.

Finalists:

  • Infrastructure Victoria’s Advice on Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure – Infrastructure Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Northwest OTS – Turner and Townsend
  • WestConnex Transaction – Advisors to the NSW Government; Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Newgate Australia, PwC, and Turner & Townsend. Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Advisian, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, and WSP

Financial Excellence Award: Westconnex transaction

Winner/s: Financial Advisors to the NSW Government; Goldman Sachs, and NSW Treasury. Financial Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Aquasia, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.

Finalists:

  • Agribo, Centre for Agribioscience Refinancing – Plenary Group
  • for Darling Harbour Live Refinancing – Capella Capital
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Macquarie Capital

Government Partnership Excellence Award: The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project

Winner/s: The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra), and Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL)
  • Metro Tunnel Project: Rail Projects Victoria and PwC Indigenous Consulting Partnership – PwC’s Indigenous Consulting and Rail Projects Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Martin Place Integrated Station Development – Macquarie Group, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW

Contractor Excellence Award: Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline

Winner/s: John Holland and MPC Kinetic

Finalists:

  • Bruce Highway Boundary Road Interchange – BMD Constructions
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – CPB Contractors and Lendlease
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Fulton Hogan

Operator and Service Provider Excellence Award: TasWater for the Regional Towns Water Supply Program – Stages 2 and 3

Winner/s: KBR, TasWater, and TRILITY

Finalists:

  • Queensland Schools Project – Plenary Schools Consortium (Plenary Group, DeltaFM and Watpac) and Queensland Department of Education
  • Incident Management Response – Transurban and Ventia

Innovation Excellence Award: uninterruptible power supply for Melbourne’s railway signalling network

Winner/s: AECOM, AEG, Metro Trains Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria, and Thycon

Finalists:

  • Dynamic Speed Management Trial – Transurban and VicRoads
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Acciona, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Keppel-Seghers, Macquarie Capital, Phoenix Energy Australia, and Veolia
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Cowri and Fulton Hogan

In addition, John Holland’s Simon Lehman won the Future Infrastructure Leader of the Year Award. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said that Mr Lehmans’ profile stood out to the judging panel amongst all the other entries because of his extraordinary commitment to the infrastructure sector.

The judges found that Mr Lehman has proven to be a major asset and path-breaking engineer for the John Holland rail team. His on-the-job mentoring of younger team members and his exceptional work at the forefront of infrastructure delivery was exemplary.

Moreover, Major Road Project Victoria’s Alexis Davidson won the Award for Women’s Achievement in Infrastructure.

Ms Davidson has had a long and successful career in infrastructure over the last two decades. The judging panel said they were particularly impressed by her strong leadership and mentorship of other female engineers in the sector.

The judges praised Ms Davidson for consistently delivering outstanding business cases for Major Road Project Victoria and developing an impressive reputation for her innovative thinking and professionalism as a female engineer at the forefront of infrastructure delivery.