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Exodus of partners in key PwC unit

Exodus of partners in key PwC unit

New Delhi/Kolkata: PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd (PwC), the Indian arm of global audit and consulting firm, is facing significant attrition in one of its key practices with all but one of the seven partners of its government reforms and institutional development (GRID) practice, leaving to join Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India Pvt. Ltd, according to people familiar with the development who did not want to be identified.

“A few GRID executive directors have indicated they would like to pursue interest outside PwC. We are in discussion with them," a PwC spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

Those exiting the firm include the practice leader Vedamoorthy Namasivayam. The other six partners in the GRID team are Amrit Pandurangi, Latha Ramanathan, Vishwas Udgirkar, Shubhranshu Patnaik, Debashish Mishra and Kameswara Rao.

While the people familiar with the development said Namasivayam and Pandurangi have put in their resignation letters, Mint could not confirm this independently or ascertain the identity of the other partners who have resigned.

Namasivayam declined comment, and Pandurangi said the information was “not true".

GRID offers advisory services on energy, infrastructure, state government reforms, public finance and public sector restructuring.

More members, although not partners, of PwC’s GRID team could also join the exodus to Deloitte soon, said one of the people familiar with the development. “A formal announcement is expected next week," this person added.

PwC has around 135 partners spread across various practices in India. According to PwC’s spokesperson, the GRID practice is part of the firm’s advisory practice, which has some 50 executive directors and 2,500 professionals.

Last year, Dinesh Kanabar, erstwhile head of PwC’s tax practice, left with 19 partners and around 180 professionals to join KPMG India Pvt. Ltd.

Deloitte’s managing director Roopen Roy said his company did not comment on “speculations and rumours", and a Deloitte spokesperson said, “Deloitte does not have comments to offer on this matter."

According to an internal PwC note reviewed by Mint, the GRID practice contributed a revenue of Rs63 crore in fiscal 2010. In the current year, it is projected to generate a revenue of around Rs77 crore, which is about one-fourth of the total projected revenue of PwC’s advisory practice.

In a separate development, PwC confirmed on Wednesday that Kaushik Dutta, who was part of its India leadership team and led the firm’s advisory services on International Financial Reporting Standards, had quit, amid speculation that he was joining the Indian arm of Grant Thornton Llp, the world’s fifth largest professional services firm.

When contacted, Dutta said he was setting up his own “thought leadership centre for research on economics and social sciences" for which he was seeking “sponsorship" from professional services firms. “If one of them agrees to sponsor my project, it would quite naturally expect me to offer some services to it in return," he said, when asked if he was joining Grant Thornton.

Grant Thornton’s national managing partner Vishesh Chandiok said, “Kaushik is more than welcome to join us, but he isn’t joining us."

As previously reported by Mint, the firm witnessed a high-profile exit last year when chairman Ramesh Rajan stepped down and was replaced by Gautam Banerjee.

“Since PwC is a service provider of choice, our talent pool will always remain valuable for all organizations. We will continue to nurture and build our talent and leadership pool," the PwC spokesperson added.

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