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Jamie Miller, who was appointed global chief financial officer of EY in January, quit the accounting firm after less than six months following the collapse of its plan to spin-off its consulting business.
Miller, a veteran finance executive who was lured to EY from the commodities trading firm Cargill, had been lined up to become chief financial officer of the consulting business if the spin-off had gone ahead.
Her resignation in June, which has not previously been reported, came just weeks after EY cancelled the break up.
“I joined EY to help the organisation pursue a transaction,” Miller said in a statement to the Financial Times. “With that off the table I have left to pursue other opportunities. EY is an exceptional organisation with thoughtful leaders and I am proud to have been part of their journey.”
EY spent more than a year and $600mn preparing its break up, which global leaders argued would turbocharge growth on both sides of its business. Consultants are barred from selling services to clients of the group’s audit business because of conflict of interest rules, and a spin-off would have allowed EY to forge lucrative alliances with tech companies such as Google, which are currently off limits.
But the plan faltered amid opposition from leaders in its US audit practice, who worried it would be left too weak as a standalone business.
For Miller, becoming CFO of the spun-off consulting business would have marked a return to the public markets, three years after she left General Electric for privately owned Cargill.
She spent almost 14 years at GE in various finance roles, including latterly as chief financial officer. In her last full year at the company, she was paid $3.5mn in salary and bonus with share awards of $4.6mn on top, according to GE’s proxy statement for 2020.
Earlier in her career, she was a partner at EY’s rival, PwC.
Joining EY presented a “unique opportunity to be part of what will be one of the most disruptive strategies in any industry this decade”, Miller said at the time of her appointment.
EY’s global chief executive Carmine Di Sibio had predicted that separating consulting from audit would become the template for other Big Four firms, and EY was seizing a first-mover advantage. The leaders of PwC, Deloitte and KPMG declared they saw no reason to follow suit.
Di Sibio had been lined up as chief executive of the standalone consulting company. After the plan’s failure, he said in June that he would retire next summer and a six-way race is under way to replace him.
Alisdair Mann, a London-based vice-chair, has resumed the chief financial officer role since Miller’s departure.
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