Gavin Hinks, Accountancy Age, Friday 6 August 2010 at 10:34:00

Martin Eadon and David Sproul fight it out for the leadership of Deloitte

The contest to replace John Connolly as leader of Deloitte in the UK will involve just two members of the firm's board.

The contenders vieing for the top job are Martin Eadon, head of audit, and David Sproul, head of tax. Sproul joined Deloitte when the firm acquired Andersen in the UK on the back of the Enron crisis.

Both candidates gave presentations at the firm's partner conference on 6 July but no further campaigning is expected.

The vote on a leader will take place in November but only a single candidate chosen by the firm's leadership will be put before partners for approval. Between now and the vote the management team will take soundings from the partners on who is the preferred choice. This will get under way after August.

One insider told Accountancy Age that there was little space between the two candidates based on their presentations and that both stressed the need for a focus on developing and recruiting talent as well building a strategy for competing in a "global" market.

The race sets up a neat contest between audit and tax for the leadership as well as placing an ex-Andersen staffer in the running. However, insiders say there are no factions developing around the issue of coming the collapsed network.

John Connolly is due to step down on the 31st May next year. An early tip to succeed him was Vince Niblett, also on the executive board. However, he is understood to have ruled himself out after taking on the role as global head of audit for the firm.

Deloitte took revenues of 1.96bn in the year to May 2009. It is expected to produce annual report for 2010 after dropping it last year.

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