BDO off to a flying start in 2021 with eight new partners

03 February 2021 3 min. read
More news on

The Australian arm of accounting and consulting firm BDO has kicked off the year in style with the addition of eight new partners across four offices nationally. 

In January, BDO on-boarded four new partners and promoted two internal candidates to partner positions across the country. Based in Sydney, Ross Widdows is a partner in BDO’s Cyber Security practice (part of the Risk Advisory Services division). He joined the mid-tier professional services firm from PwC. 

Stephen May has been appointed a partner in the Audit & Assurance practice – he previously spent twenty seven years at KPMG. In Brisbane, BDO promoted two of its internal members to the partnership. Jodie Knowlton has been with the firm for over a decade, while Craig Mitchell has been with BDO since 2015. Both are members of the Business Services division, which provides a broad range of business advisory and taxation services.

Ross Widdows, Stephen May, Jodie Knowlton, Craig Mitchell, Sam Venn, Salim Biskri, William Campbell, Grant Cameron - BDO

Sam Venn and Salim Biskri have joined BDO’s office in Melbourne from Big Four rival Deloitte. Venn is a partner in the Business Services division with a focus on automotive, while Biskri is a member of the Audit & Assurance unit. 

Appointed a partner in BDO’s Tax division is Perth-based William Campbell, and rounding off the quintet of joiners from Deloitte, Grant Cameron is joining per mid-February as a partner in the Automotive service line within Business Services. He also will assume national responsibility for BDO’s cross-practice Automotive practice.

The appointments come on the back of a raft of new partners in 2020 across intakes in the first half and second half of the year, which lifted BDO’s partnership size to over 200 for the first time in its 46-year history in Australia. 

Grant Saxon, managing partner of the Sydney office, said that the firm’s leadership expansion builds on a better than expected 2020 financial year. “Many areas of the firm, such as Audit and Business Services, were busier than ever and, where there may have been quieter divisions, we were able to redeploy people across to areas of higher demand,” he said.

“I’m really proud of the way our people came together and got behind our strategy to help clients and colleagues through a really difficult time,” Saxon added.

The partner added that the firm owes much of its attractiveness for senior leaders to its people-first strategy. “During 2020, BDO was a standout in my opinion having successfully executed a concerted effort to keep teams together during Covid-19 with no redundancies and very limited disruption to working patterns and salaries.” 

In fact, the mid-term firm saw the number of inbound requests from partners at rivals increase fivefold on the previous year. While the current environment undoubtedly has prompted many to re-assess their career, in particular at the Big Four which had to take drastic and unpopular measures to navigate the pandemic, “firm culture is the key factor that attracts new hires to BDO,” said Chief Executive Partner Tony Schiffmann. 

“Culture will become a more prominent differentiator in a post-Covid-19 world and BDO has a strong advantage in this area. We will continue to invest heavily in our people-centric approach and build upon the positive brand values and behaviours that are espoused across the firm,” he concluded.