PWC HAS CREATED a new front-facing role in response to mounting criticism of auditors and lack of competition at the top of the market.

The firm's first ever head of reputation and policy is Richard Sexton, chief of its assurance and audit division, who will lead a small team focusing on public perception and relations with key interlocutors.

Sexton remains a member of the executive board, which has increased in number from ten to 11 as three new entrants will replace outgoing members Barry Marshall and Paul Rawlinson.

Chairman and senior partner Ian Powell said: "The debate on reputation, regulation and the relevance of our firm is likely to be one of the most significant challenges and potential opportunities we face."

In addition to the head of reputation role, Sexton is taking on the post of deputy global assurance leader, and remains a client-serving partner.

Politicians and regulators will be among those targeted by the new department, and important discussion points are likely to include perceived domination of the Big Four. The announcement comes after a damning report into audit by the House of Lords, which called on the Office of Fair Trading to investigate.

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