Australia’s former Big Four bosses: where are they now?

09 March 2022 6 min. read
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Forced out following the collapse of New Tel, former Deloitte boss Domenic Martino is now contesting a NSW senate seat for the United Australia Party. So, where are the other ex-leaders of the Big Four today?

Wielding a $100 million war-chest, mining magnate Clive Palmer is looking to muscle his United Australia Party (UAP) back into political significance, including through former Deloitte boss Domenic Martino as the increasingly conspiracist party’s lead senate candidate in NSW.

Martino resigned as Deloitte CEO in 2003 in a cloud of controversy around the collapse of telco New Tel, and has since gone on to chair a number of resources companies.

Should the United Australia Party win enough seats to form government, Liberal defector and now UAP party leader Craig Kelly has stated that Martino would be appointed as the nation’s finance minister. With former PwC Sydney managing partner Joseph Carrozzi also in the news this month, after hosting a $10,000 per head Liberal fundraiser at his home in Mosman, wondered what other former Big Four leaders have been getting up to of late?


When Martino was pushed out in 2003 after two years at the helm, prompting Deloitte to establish rules precluding employees from holding directorships of publicly-listed companies, the South African-born Giam Swiegers took over, and is widely credited as setting the firm on its current path as Australia’s second-largest consultancy by fostering a culture of agility and diversity. Early in his tenure, Deloitte was the smallest of the Big Four in Australia.

Adam Powick, Richard Deutsch, Cindy Hook, Giam Swiegers, Domenic Martino

Departing Deloitte in 2015, Swiegers has gone on to perform a similar turnaround at engineering consultancy Aurecon as its global CEO to 2019, and was early last year appointed as chairman. His replacement, Cindy Hook, would become the first woman to lead a Big Four in Australia, then going on to head the firm’s merged Asia Pacific unit, with COO David Hill likely to take over when Hook returns to her native US later this year, opting not to re-nominate.

Hook’s successor in the top Australian role, Richard Deutsch, stepped down short of a full term in March of last year, citing the personal toll of navigating the firm through the early chaos of the global coronavirus pandemic, which saw it slash 700 jobs in response. Incumbent Deloitte CEO and former consulting division boss Adam Powick was elected as a replacement largely unopposed, while Deutsch has since joined the board of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.


The largest of the Big Four in Australia, PwC, where Deutsch also spent some two and a half decades, is currently presided over by Tom Seymour, who took over from Luke Sayers in the middle of 2020. Sayers has since gone on to establish his own eponymous consulting and investment firm Sayers, which was named most attractive start-up for Australian employees last year. Sayers has however also had a few issues since becoming the president of Carlton.

Tom Seymour, Luke Sayers, Mark Johnson, Tony Harrington

Sayers' predecessor, Mark Johnson, currently serves on the board of Aurecon alongside Swiegers. Johnson held the PwC CEO title for four years before Sayers took over in 2012, and has since become a regular boardroom presence, including as an independent director for among others HSBC, Westfield, Coca Cola Amatil and most recently Boral. He is also presently the chairman of not-for-profit health insurer HCF and a councillor at UNSW.

Prior to Johnson, Tony Harrington spent two full terms in charge, then going on to serve as PwC’s global leader for strategy before joining financial advisory firm Moelis (where he now serves as Chairman for Corporate Advisory & Equities), and later heading up law firm MinterEllison as chief executive partner. Among other board roles, he also briefly chaired professional body Chartered Accountants ANZ, before abruptly stepping down in 2020.

Ernst & Young

Another of the Big Four leaders to hand over shortly after the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, after more than six and a half years at the top, former EY Oceania CEO Tony Johnson retired from the firm at the end of last year, having first joined in 1988. He now serves as the chair of Fujitsu Australia’s advisory board (which is presently undertaking a transformation to a more digital services-oriented company), as well as on the board of Bupa among others.

Tony Johnson, Rob McLeod, Gerard Dalbosco, James Millar, Brian Schwartz

Johnson was preceded by the four-year tenure of Rob McLeod, a Kiwi of Maori heritage who notably championed gender equity and Indigenous empowerment initiatives on both sides of the Tasman and received a knighthood from the New Zealand government in 2019. McLeod retired as chairman of EY in New Zealand in 2015, and has held scores of high-profile board and committee positions, including on a number of government task-forces.

Over the decade prior to McLeod’s 2010 ascension, EY had three leaders; Brian Schwartz (1998-2004), James Millar (2005-2009), and Gerard Dalbosco, the latter who had a short one-year stint between 2009 and 2010 before going to serve as co-deputy CEO of EY’s newly integrated Asia Pacific region and then as managing partner of EY’s Melbourne office to 2020. Between them, the trio sit on or chair more than a dozen boards.


Gary Wingrove handed over to Andrew Yates in the middle of 2021 after eight years in charge, overseeing an almost doubling of the size of the firm during his tenure. He also recently stepped down from the board of Indigenous development not-for-profit Jawun. Independent HSBC and Toll Group director, Geoff Wilson, spent over five year at the helm prior to Wingrove, then another four years as the COO of KPMG’s APAC division out of Hong Kong.

Andrew Yates, Gary Wingrove, Geoff Wilson, Lindsay Maxsted

Lindsay Maxsted, KPMG’s national leader from 2001 to 2007, is currently the chairman of Transurban, having in 2020 stepped down as the chair of Westpac in the wake of the bank’s massive anti-money laundering failings. The insolvency specialist was also last year appointed as chair of public policy think-tank the Grattan Institute, as well as director of a newly established $300 million Tanarra restructuring fund aimed at companies disrupted by Covid-19.

KPMG has also seen one of its home-grown advisers go on to become the first Australian to lead a Big Four at the global level, Michael Andrew, who received widespread praise upon his death in 2019, having fallen ill three years after being elected as KPMG’s global chair in 2011. Another Australian, Bill Michael, was forced to step down as KPMG UK chair last year after telling the firm’s employees to “stop moaning” over pay concerns related to the coronavirus crisis.