Dileep Choksi, vice-chairman and a joint managing partner of Deloitte, Touche & Tohmatsu, one of the Big Four accounting and advisory firms, has resigned from the Indian unit.
Although, Mr Choksi says he wants to explore other opportunities, his move has led to speculation that consolidation issues are still unresolved in one of the fastest growing markets for advisory and accounting services, where foreign firms increasingly tie up with Indian affiliates.
Mr Choksi, who came into the Deloitte fold after audit firm CC Chokshi joined hands with Deloitte Touche, put in his papers on March 27. He is likely to continue till June 30.
I am looking at other avenues in life, though I havent taken any decision so far, he told ET. Deloitte India is a combination of five firms; apart from CC Choksi, it also has SB Bilimoria, PC Hansotia, Fraser & Ross and AF Fergussen as member firms.
Foreign accountancy firms like Deloitte have been teaming up with India accounting firms, as government norms here dont allow foreign companies access to the audit and assurance sectors.
In February last year, Ambit RSM and PwC decided to merge their tax practices to create Indias largest accounting firm. But the integration process is believed to have faced some difficulties. Deloittes India unit has over 115 partners, with 13 partners present on the board.
Although common partners are vital for bringing the two firms together, they may also lead to a situation where the organisation gets top heavy, said sources in the know.
Before the merger between Ambit RSM and PwC, more than 15 senior executives from the former firm had left. After the merger there have been similar issues, the sources added. Like all knowledge-driven firms, people are the biggest asset in a tax and advisory services company. Deloitte is increasing its total employee strength in India from 8,750 to 12,000 employees by 2010.
Deloitte has two offshore centres in Hyderabad and Mumbai and has plans to focus on the consulting business.
Asia is an important market for the Big Four, that also includes PwC, Ernst&Young and KPMG. These firms saw their strongest growth last year mainly due to growth in China, India and Southeast Asia. Although Asia has remained the smallest geographical segment, revenue from this region grew by 22.2% from 2006 to 2007.