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PricewaterhouseCoopers Indian get new head Deepak Kapoor
December, 14th 2010

Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers India (PwC), which has been under the media glare since the Satyam fraud broke out, will have a new India head.

On Monday, PwC appointed global nominee Deepak Kapoor as the chairman of PwC India, replacing Gautam Banerjee who will complete his term by December end.

The move signalled the growing hold of PwCs international team on the local network. The appointment of Mr Kapoor was done through the firms governance board which consulted all 150 India partners before shortlisting probable candidates, a departure from the conventional process of selecting chairmen through elections.

While PwC India didnt name the second candidate, it is learnt that executive director Jairaj Purandare had also been nominated for the top job. This is the second time that PwC India has appointed a chairman representing the global network.

Gautam Banerjee, who had been appointed in the immediate aftermath of the Satyam fraud two Price Waterhouse auditors were alleged to have colluded with the Satyam management was an executive chairman with PwC Singapore and retained that post along with the India job.

Mr Banerjee had replaced Ramesh Ranjan who stepped down owning moral responsibility after the Satyam fraud. The firm had also appointed Peter Harvey as deputy chairman of PwC India along with Mr Banerjee.

Deepak Kapoor has been elected as the new chairman of PwC India network of entities for a three-year term beginning on January 1, 2011, said a PwC statement. PwC India network partners ratified the selection of Deepak, 52, by the PwC India governance board.

The selection process included the nomination of probable candidates and short-listing which was followed by a sounding process undertaken by the governance board. This is a practice currently followed by PwCs global network and is steadily replacing the conventional ballot box, which is preferred by the Indian network.

India is a key market for PwC and also its fastest growing region with annual revenues of over Rs 1,000 crore.
Incidentally, Mr Kapoor lost to Mr Ranjan in 2007 when the India network had last held elections. Mr Ranjans victory then was widely seen as a win for Indian partners who typically had differences of opinion on operational norms with the parent company.

But after the Satyam case broke out and immediate exits of top partners along with their teams, the international network had to take strong corrective measures to improve the brands image. Mr Banerjee was brought in as the firm wanted to avoid the distraction of an election during a difficult period for the firm, said a senior PwC official.
The measures also included formation of an independent advisory board to guide PwC India.

The incumbent, Mr Banerjee had recently countered a tough task as capital market regulator Sebi had turned down Price Waterhouses consent application for an early settlement over investigation into the firms role in the Satyams fraud.

While Mr Banerjee was able to convince most of PwC Indias high profile clients the firm is learnt to serve about 3,000 companies in various roles to continue with the firm, the exit of senior partner and reputed tax professional Dinesh Kanabar had an impact.

Less than one-third of our clients (for the tax practice) migrated after the exit of the senior tax team, said one official.

Mr Kapoor has had a long stint with PwC. He joined the firm in 1978 and became a partner in 1991. Prior to being appointed managing director, he served in a variety of leadership and client service roles initially as an auditor and then as an M&A professional, said the PwC statement.

Mr Kapoor led the financial advisory practice and the telecom and entertainment and media practices for ten years.

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