Cathy Engelbert has been elected to chief executive officer of Deloitte LLP, becoming the first female CEO of a major audit and consulting firm in the U.S. Engelbert will step into her new role on March 11, 2015.

"Cathy has been a formidable and influential industry presence during her many years at Deloitte and will undoubtedly continue to drive our firm and profession forward," said Frank Friedman, who has served as the interim CEO and will become chief operating officer. "And in electing the first female CEO in the industry, Deloitte continues to lead in fostering inclusive leadership. Deloitte was also the first professional services firm to elect a minority CEO, woman chairman of the Board, and minority chairman."

"I'm deeply honored to lead Deloitte," Engelbert said in a statement. "I look forward to collaborating with all our people to continue to lead our profession in quality and innovation. Together, we make an impact that matters every day for our clients, the capital markets, communities and society."

Engelbert, 50, currently serves as chairman and CEO of Deloitte & Touche LLP, the U.S. accounting, auditing and risk advisory subsidiary of Deloitte LLP, leading the Audit practice. Since joining Deloitte in 1986, Engelbert has had a distinguished track record serving several of Deloitte's largest and most complex global clients and is a former member of the Deloitte board of directors.

"Cathy has a strong track record of advising some of the firm's leading clients, and working with regulators to advance our industry-leading Audit practice," said Punit Renjen, currently chairman of the Board of Deloitte LLP.

Barry Melancon president and CEO of the AICPA stated, “This is a momentous occasion for the CPA profession. Cathy has demonstrated great ability and tremendous leadership during her career with Deloitte. Her partners have responded by making her the first female CEO of a Big Four Firm in the profession’s history in the United States. Historically, ours is a profession that has promoted the blending of work and life for advancement along a variety of paths. Cathy will be a role model for future generations of female leaders in our profession.”

Center for Audit Quality Executive Director Cindy Fornelli also congratulated Engelbert on her new role. “The CAQ congratulates Cathy on her well-deserved appointment. She is a proven leader who has earned the trust and respect of her colleagues across the profession. We wish her well in her new role and look forward to benefitting from the perspective she will bring to the CAQ's Governing Board.The CAQ also acknowledges and celebrates this landmark day for the public company auditing profession, as Cathy becomes the first female chief executive to lead a major U.S. accounting firm. This is an important step in the profession's unrelenting drive to continuously improve.”

Engelbert is a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council, which advises the Financial Accounting Standards Board on strategic issues, project priorities, and other matters that affect accounting standard-setting. She has held partner roles serving several of the world's leading life sciences and pharmaceutical companies and advises multinational companies on financial instrument accounting matters. Engelbert has served on Deloitte’s board of directors and was a member of the Board's Strategic Investment, Finance & Audit, Risk, and Regulatory & Government Relations Committees.

Engelbert holds a BS in accounting from Lehigh University. She is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She serves as a member of the Accounting Advisory Board for Lehigh University. Engelbert is a past recipient of the YWCA's Tribute to Women in Industry Award and is among the Women's Fund of New Jersey's "25 Most Influential Women in Finance."

In addition to Engelbert’s appointment, Deloitte tapped Mike Fucci as chairman of the Board of Deloitte LLP. Fucci will also start his new role on March 11, 2015. "Mike's experience growing new practices and developing talent across the organization has helped Deloitte offer an unmatched portfolio of services. I am confident Cathy and Mike will lead with distinction, helping Deloitte continue to drive impact that matters," said Renjen.

"I am humbled by this rare privilege to represent my colleagues as chairman of the Board," said Fucci. "I appreciate the full scope of this responsibility, and I look forward to leading our Board of Directors in executing our charter of governance and oversight. Through constructive and candid dialogue with Cathy, her management team, as well as among our partnership, together we can continue to increase Deloitte's meaningful impact on all our stakeholders."

For more than 33 years, Fucci, 56, has been a practitioner and principal at Deloitte. During his career, Fucci led the U.S. Human Capital practice's growth to over $1 billion. In 2009, he took responsibility for all Consulting service areas during a significant economic downturn. Under his leadership, Consulting's service areas thrived and have been among the U.S. firms' top performing business units. Fucci has been a member of the Deloitte LLP Board of Directors since 2012, serving on its Governance Committee, and chairing its Risk and Regulatory Committee.

Fucci holds a bachelor's degree in math from Montclair State University. He was named to Consulting Magazine's distinguished "Top 25 Consultants" list for his work with clients and leadership excellence, and he remains a thought leader within the HR consulting market. Fucci has been featured as a Conference Board speaker on HR, compensation and talent management topics.

Barry Melancon, president and CEO of the American Institute of CPAs, praised Deloitte's selection of Engelbert. “This is a momentous occasion for the CPA profession,” he said in a statement. “Cathy has demonstrated great ability and tremendous leadership during her career with Deloitte. Her partners have responded by making her the first female CEO of a Big 4 firm in the profession’s history in the United States. Historically, ours is a profession that has promoted the blending of work and life for advancement along a variety of paths. Cathy will be a role model for future generations of female leaders in our profession.” 

Cindy Fornelli, executive director of the Center for Audit Quality, also hailed Engelbert's appointment. “The CAQ congratulates Cathy on her well-deserved appointment,” Fornelli said in a statement. “She is a proven leader who has earned the trust and respect of her colleagues across the profession. We wish her well in her new role and look forward to benefitting from the perspective she will bring to the CAQ's Governing Board. The CAQ also acknowledges and celebrates this landmark day for the public company auditing profession, as Cathy becomes the first female chief executive to lead a major U.S. accounting firm. This is an important step in the profession's unrelenting drive to continuously improve.”

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