Dhe consulting and auditing company EY will get a new head after the scandal surrounding the insolvent payment service provider Wirecard, be more closely integrated into the international EY organization and get an independent expert commission under the leadership of the former Federal Minister of Finance Theo Waigel, which will gain public confidence in EY should strengthen. The Supervisory Board, chaired by Count Georg Waldersee, decided on these measures.
Editor in business, responsible for “The Business Economist”.
Hubert Barth, who has been in office since 2016, will take on a role in the newly founded regional administration Europe West at EY by July 1 at the latest. It is said that what function he will have there has not yet been clarified. The leadership of the new regional organization will be taken over by a Dutchman.
Henrik Ahlers succeeds him in his role as head of Germany. Ahlers has previously headed EY’s tax consultancy in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. He is supported by the Frenchman Jean-Yves Jégourel, so far EY’s highest quality representative. No further personal details had been decided. However, it cannot be ruled out that the new dual leadership will make further personnel changes and that further managers will move from the German headquarters to the Western European headquarters. The Supervisory Board emphasizes that it has great confidence in the people involved and that they will therefore not be dismissed.
However, it is important to restore trust that has been lost in the public and especially among customers. Two other measures should also contribute to this. A Trust in Quality program was launched especially for Germany. In the words of Julie Teigland, Chair of the higher-level regional organization EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India, Africa), there are three pillars: On the one hand, the “critical attitude” of the auditors should be implemented in their work in a sustainable manner. Second, it is about creating structures that help avoid cases like Wirecard. This includes better training in forensics, i.e. in recognizing fraudulent activities. Thirdly, management is to be improved within the Trust in Quality program.
The third focus after the new management and the quality program is the establishment of a commission of experts, which is supposed to give the supervisory board external advice. It will be chaired by the former Federal Minister of Finance Theo Waigel. Other members are Brigitte Zypries (former Federal Minister of Justice) and Hans-Michael Gaul (formerly the Eon board member and the supervisory board at Siemens and Volkswagen). We are still looking for a female scientist as a further member.
All of these measures are intended to “send a clear signal” that EY is doing everything it can to make good the fidelity damage that has occurred and even imposing standards on quality that go beyond legal and professional claims.
The Wirecard scandal has so far not caused any economic damage to EY. In the 2019/20 financial year (June 30), sales increased by 2.2 percent to 2.2 billion euros. In the current 2020/21 financial year, growth in the single-digit percentage range has also been recorded so far.
This is mainly due to the growth in legal and tax advice, but also in auditing is growing thanks to mandates won in recent years, but has also had Röchling in recent weeks (2.4 billion euros in sales, a good 11,000 employees ) as a new mandate.