Low Voter (aka Partner) Turnout Expected for Deloitte Leadership Election

Last week we shared the Deloitte U.S. Leadership candidates with you but at the time we hadn't confirmed that the thumbsup/thumbsdown had begun. This week, a source confirmed for us that voting had, in fact, started last week but no one should get too anxious about hearing the results:

The vote continues at least until the Firm achieves a 50% voting rate from all the partners. This is typically a struggle, and many voice messages and e-mails are sent rounding up at least the 50%. This is part of the problem (and a bit pathetic). Nobody believes their voices are heard, so they don't care to vote. Or, if they vote NO, they fear retribution.

As we reported in January, the retribution of a "No" vote is something that many young partners may fear and you can presuppose that many veteran partners who are a little preoccupied with a little something called "busy season clients" aren't exactly concerned with casting a vote in an election that is all but decided already. All this adds up to a pretty sad voter turnout, sayeth our source:

Ok - so then, among that paltry 50% voting rate, there needs to be a 2/3 approval for each candidate in order for them to win election. So - if you do the math...we have about 2800 partners. Only 1400 need to vote for a quorum, and only about 940 need to approve each candidate for them to get into office. So perhaps only about 33% of the partners end up approving of the people that run the firm.

Unfortunately - nobody focuses upon this fact. Unbelievable. And now we have a non-CPA being put up for the Chairman's spot of an accounting firm. It's insanity, really.

Oh, right; the non-CPA chairman controversy. For those of you that are unfamiliar, Punit Renjen is the CEO of Deloitte Consulting. Mr Renjen has been on the job for just over a year and by all accounts has done an acceptable job and it doesn't surprise us that he's up for this position. The fact that he, in all likelihood, will become the next chairman of a Big 4 firm, bothers a lot of CPAs. Despite the bellyaching of those on the audit/tax side of the house, what's not up for debate is that Deloitte Consulting is the second largest practice, according to the this year's revenue data. But what's even more important, consulting is the fastest growing segment, with double digit growth in FY 2010. So if Mr Renjen's ascension to the chairman position bothers some in a CPA puritanical sense, we can appreciate that. But from a numbers standpoint, it's probably overdue and is definitely not surprising.

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