EY's Australia and New Zealand CEO Tony Johnson steps down

27 January 2021 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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After serving the firm in Oceania for seven years, 34-year EY veteran Tony Johnson is stepping down later this year to move to the “next phase” of his career.

Announcing the news on his LinkedIn profile, Johnson wrote “On 30 June 2021, I will be stepping down as CEO and Regional Managing Partner of EY in Oceania. It has been an immense privilege to lead this fantastic organisation and its amazing people and I greatly appreciate the support I have received from all our people and our clients.” 

Johnson joined the global accounting and consulting firm in 1987 as a junior in the Assurance division, and was admitted into the partnership in 1998. After leading EY’s Assurance division for Oceania between 2009 and 2013, in 2014 he was voted by EY’s partnership to lead the organisation in Australia and New Zealand.

Tony Johnson, CEO of Oceania, EYUnder his leadership, EY managed to book remarkable growth, averaging annual double-digit revenue growth to steer total fee income from $1.1 billion in 2014 to more than $2.2 billion in its latest financial year. “When I accepted the role in late 2014 I knew we were a very good organisation with outstanding talent and great values.”

“My focus has been on instilling additional belief across the firm so that we are more bold, confident and distinctive in all we do whilst continuing to deliver exceptional service to our clients,” Johnson said.

buy-and-build strategy was an instrumental part of Johnson’s approach to keep EY fit-for-purpose in a rapidly changing marketplace. Technology has been the main focus area, with a series of acquisitions closed in digital, data analytics, cyber security and technology. 

EY also boosted its strategy consulting capabilities with the purchase of Port Jackson Partners, which joined forces with EY Parthenon to form a leading national outfit, competing with the likes of Deloitte’s Monitor Deloitte, PwC’s Strategy& and the pure-play strategy giants and boutiques.

The right time to pass the baton

Now in his seventh year, and having navigated EY through the pandemic, Johnson said it “would be best for EY, my family and me to pass the baton.” He explained, “I am certain this is the right time for a change. The business is in a great position, with tremendous momentum and a strong and positive culture. I am very confident of the firm’s ongoing success given the quality of our people and clients and the depth of leadership within EY to take the business forward.” 

Thanking him for his “brilliant 34-year career” with EY, EY’s Asia-Pacific Area Managing Partner Patrick Winter said: “Tony has been an outstanding leader – values based, always accessible and authentic, with sound judgement in decision making. His contribution to EY’s growth, distinctiveness, culture, and the inclusiveness of our workplace has been substantial. He will leave a positive and long-lasting legacy. We wish him well in the next phase of his career.”

EY has kicked-off the process for selecting Johnson’s successor, and expects to unveil the new boss before April.