While the world is focused on Covid-19, Deloitte has quietly been making major changes to senior management.
Last month, Deloitte agreed to pay back R150-million to Eskom to settle a case involving a contested consulting contract.
What we have now discovered is that Thiru Pillay, the managing director for Deloitte Africa’s advisory arm, resigned in the wake of the scandal.
Managing director for Deloitte Africa’s advisory arm, Thiru Pillay, resigned in the wake of the scandal.
Also out is Shamal Sivasanker, Deloitte Africa’s leader on infrastructure and power and the lead consultant on the Eskom contract.
Both directors left the firm at the end of March, but Deloitte failed to announce their departures until yesterday when, in response to detailed questions from amaBhungane, a spokesperson for Deloitte sent a short statement:
“Following the resolution of the Eskom matter, Deloitte confirms that the directors have acknowledged that the events related to the Eskom matter occurred on their watch. They have taken leadership accountability and have withdrawn from the Firm effective 31 March 2020.
“Taking accountability is in line with our Firm’s values. Investigations completed by Eskom and Deloitte showed no evidence of state capture or corruption (see joint statement).”
Deloitte has repeatedly stressed this last part. In fact, amaBhungane understands that Deloitte would only settle if Eskom agreed to make this concession.
This, of course, does not mean that Deloitte’s conduct at Eskom, such as its decision to partner with a Gupta-linked firm, cannot be investigated by the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit or Zondo Commission. But for now it has given Deloitte, one of the world’s Big Four accounting firms, room to breathe.
The decision to settle with Eskom appears to have caused disagreement inside Deloitte as well. When amaBhungane interviewed Pillay in December, he was adamant that the firm would not settle. At the time, his team even stressed that it “bypassed global” when deciding to grant the interview.
Neither Pillay nor Sivasanker responded to our requests for comment sent via WhatsApp yesterday afternoon.
Pillay is one of Deloitte’s most well-known executives. Last year, he was named “Big 4 professional of the year” by the South African Professional Services Awards.
His LinkedIn profile describes his new role as “independent … impact maker”.
*This story was edited after publication to remove any suggestion that Deloitte knew about the resignations and withheld this information from the joint press release which was issued on 20 March 2020. At the request of Deloitte we also deleted a tweet to that effect.