Grant Thornton LLP Leads the Way in Professional Service Governance by Naming First External Board Members
TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Grant Thornton LLP is pleased to announce the appointment of Sarah Morgan-Silvester and Sean Durfy to the firm’s Partnership Board, effective immediately. These appointments represent the first time external board members will sit on the firm’s Board. Each will serve for an initial three year term.
“Unlocking our potential for growth is about being the best that we can be, individually and collectively”
“Unlocking our potential for growth is about being the best that we can be, individually and collectively,” says Phil Noble, Executive Partner and Chief Executive Officer of Grant Thornton LLP. “These two appointments to our Partnership Board are fully aligned with our strategy, and represent a very significant step forward for the governance of our firm. We believe that external board members will allow us to enhance both our governance and our organizational performance.”
While the composition of the boards of publicly listed companies has become increasingly comprised of external independent members, the boards of professional services firms have traditionally been made up of the partners of the firm and have been closed to outsiders. Nevertheless, many of the lessons learned from governance best practices can be applied to professional services firms.
“Dynamic, forward-thinking professional services firms can and must evolve their governance structure and improve transparency by adopting a hybrid model of governance, combining external independent board members with internal practitioners,” continues Noble. “We’re excited to be on the leading edge of this governance trend for professional services firms, and among the first for national accounting firms in Canada.”
Vancouver-based Sarah Morgan-Silvester is currently the Chancellor of the University of British Columbia and also serves on the Boards of ENMAX Corporation, the Vancouver Foundation and the University of British Columbia Board of Governors. She has also served as Chair of the Vancouver Port Authority and subsequently Port Metro Vancouver. Ms. Morgan-Silvester spent almost twenty years at HSBC Bank Canada, most recently as Executive Vice President, Personal Financial Services and Wealth Management.
Toronto-based Sean Durfy was very recently appointed President of Northland Power Inc. Mr. Durfy is the former President and Chief Executive Officer of WestJet Airlines, and was previously President and Chief Operating Officer of ENMAX Energy Corporation. Today, Mr. Durfy serves on the Board of Touchstone Exploration Inc. and until his recent appointment was on the Board of Northland Power.
Over the past several years, Grant Thornton LLP has put a focus on helping clients unlock their potential for growth, and is leading by example. Last year, the accounting trade journal The Bottom Line reported that Grant Thornton had posted stronger growth (5.8%) than the other largest global accounting networks in Canada1. In addition Grant Thornton LLP has been recognized as one of Canada's Best Workplaces by the Great Place to Work Institute for the last six consecutive years, ranking highest amongst accounting firms in both 2012 and 2013. Grant Thornton is a member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, which in 2013 grew faster (8.1%)2, leading the six largest global accounting organizations in reported revenue growth for the second year in a row.
“When adding external board members, it was very important to us that we selected individuals who shared our core values and the goal of strengthening our distinctive leadership brand. We are thrilled that Sean and Sarah have agreed to join us, and look forward to their contribution to the strategic development of our partnership and our firm,” said Noble. “This change signals a new era in our firm’s growth.”
Notes to editors
Phil Noble, Executive Partner and CEO of Grant Thornton LLP, is available to discuss board governance trends for professional services firms, and Grant Thornton’s decision to add external board members to its Partnership Board.
About Grant Thornton LLP in Canada
Grant Thornton LLP is a leading Canadian accounting and advisory firm providing audit, tax and advisory services to private and public organizations. We help dynamic organizations unlock their potential for growth by providing meaningful, actionable advice through a broad range of services. Together with the Quebec firm Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton LLP, Grant Thornton in Canada has approximately 4,000 people in offices across Canada. Grant Thornton LLP is a Canadian member of Grant Thornton International Ltd, whose member firms operate in close to 100 countries worldwide.
1 Source: The Bottom Line, April 2013, in reference to the year ending December 2012. Grant Thornton refers to Grant Thornton LLP and Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton LLP.2 For the year ended 30 September 2013, reported in US dollars.