Peter Burns new CEO of Accenture Australia and New Zealand

11 October 2021 3 min. read
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Peter Burns has been appointed as Accenture’s new CEO for Australia and New Zealand – succeeding Tara Brady – with Burns having only been at the firm since April.

Accenture has named former Strategy& partner and regional leader Peter Burns as its new CEO for Australia and New Zealand, in the wake of top boss Tara Brady’s decision to step down due to difficulties around Australia’s international border closure. The appointment marks a phenomenal rise for Burns at Accenture, who joined the firm in just April of this year – albeit bringing three decades of advisory and senior leadership experience.

A bachelor of commerce graduate in marketing and statistics from Bond University (since augmented with an MBA from Harvard Business School), Burns first joined Strategy& predecessor Booz & Company in Sydney in 1992. Prior to PwC’s purchase of the strategy consulting firm in 2014, Burns over the course of two decades worked his way up to senior partner and served as a member of Booz’s board of directors and shareholders committee.

Peter Burns, CEO, Accenture

Sticking around through the transition, Burns would fill the roles of PwC Global Banking & Capital Markets Leader and ASEANZ Consulting Financial Services Leader, along with taking up a position on the PwC SEA Consulting board from the middle of last year (headed by Simon Gealy for the past year, PwC’s Southeast Asian Consulting practice works closely with the firm’s Australian counterpart as part of a joint venture agreed in 2013).

Over the course of his three-decade advisory career, Burns has amassed significant expertise across the financial services spectrum, including in retail banking, institutional banking, wealth management, and insurance, having served business leaders across Australia, the Asia Pacific and the UK on corporate strategy, mergers & acquisitions and business model transformation. He continues to be based out of Sydney, and will now oversee a team of 6,000 staff.

“I don’t think anybody in the business wanted to see Tara leave this soon,” Burns told the AFR. “But on the other side of it, you rarely get opportunities like this in your professional life. And this is an enormous opportunity. I think we have a real mojo and momentum in the business and we’re staring into a market where change is happening all around us. And so for me, there’s no better time to be in this sort of business than where we are right now.”

Burns has decent-sized shoes to fill, with Brady having made a sizeable impact in his short time at the helm during a challenging period. Taking over as CEO in September last year amid rumblings over local redundancies – part of a plan to slash Accenture’s global workforce by 5 percent – the UK native has since managed to build up the firm’s headcount by 20 percent, and, backed by five acquisitions completed under his watch, grown revenues by double digits.