PwC appoints Thomas Bowden as chief transformation officer

24 January 2024 3 min. read
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Former Canberra managing partner Thomas Bowden has been appointed as PwC’s next chief transformation officer, with oversight for the firm’s large-scale reforms in Australia.

In his new role, Thomas Bowden has been handed the responsibility for overseeing the implementation of the firm’s culture and governance reforms. Bowden replaces former acting chief executive Kristin Stubbins, who officially departs at the end of the month after three decades at the firm.

“While significant work has already gone into implementing the firm’s commitments to change and immediate remedies such as enhanced risk protocols are already in place, we have much work to do when it comes to governance controls,” Bowden told the AFR, adding that while transformation takes time, the reforms would ultimately “set a new industry standard for governance, accountability and culture across the professional services sector.”

PwC appoints Thomas Bowden as chief transformation officer

Bowden has been with PwC for the past two decades, most recently as a partner in the firm’s workforce and leadership practice and as a board member of PwC Indigenous Consulting. Previously, he oversaw PwC’s Canberra office for three years to mid-2020, at a time when the firm’s former public sector business – since sold and reemerging as Scyne – was booming on the back of an ever-growing federal government spend on consultancy.

\While there has been no suggestion of any wrongdoing, his period in charge in Canberra also however briefly coincided with the government tax policy confidentiality breach which ultimately brought PwC’s public sector business undone, and despite having moved on was one of the Finance department’s first points of contact over the matter as an authorised Management Advisory Services (MAS) panel representative of PwC Consulting.

Yet, Bowden will now be in charge of overseeing the suite of reforms the firm has committed to in the wake of the scandal, described by CEO Kevin Burrowes as playing a ‘critical’ role in PwC’s strategic direction which will be ‘crucial’ to rebuilding trust. Like Burrowes, who was parachuted in from Singapore at the height of the crisis, Bowden originates from the UK, adding to the new leadership flavour at the firm as a host of its local seniors exit.

With PwC’s executive board already having experienced significant turnover over the past year, Asia Pacific consulting leader David McKeering is also now reported to be heading for retirement, having been with the firm for close to two decades between Queensland and Singapore. McKeering was also one of five PwC Indigenous Consulting board members alongside Bowden, and according to the AFR will be replaced by an internal candidate in the coming months.