Nick Land, chairman of Ernst & Young in the UK, will retire from the firm in two months. In very interesting interview with Accountancy Age, Mr. Land recounts key developments during his 11 years as firm chairman, including:
- On the sales of E&Y’s consulting practice, “I’m absolutely sure that was the right strategy and that there was a real advantage in going first.”
- On the Ernst & Whinney/Arthur Young merger in 1989, “I think we did that merger very well. Mergers are never easy. We did exactly what we tell our clients to do have a 100-day plan and smash the organisations together.”
- On whether E&Y aggressively courted Andersen clients in 2001-2002, “‘I’m not conscious of us rushing to clients of [Andersen’s]. I think it was clients rushing to us. There was no sense of wishing to undermine Andersen. It unfolded in front of the world. We were as surprised as anybody else.”
- On professional services competition, “I don’t understand how you create a fifth truly global competitor. Maybe cleverer and brighter people will work out how that is done. These firms weren’t created overnight they built up because they were responding to the marketplace.”
Mr. Land also touches on E&Y’s efforts in creating a new business risk consulting practice, one that he says is very different from the “through and through” IT practice sold to CapGemini. This is a very interesting interview given by a leader who has seen a great deal during his career.