EY’s UK chair granted second term extension beyond retirement age

EY's UK chair granted second term extension beyond retirement age

Hywel Ball

EY has extended the tenure of its UK chair, Hywel Ball, for a second time, allowing him to continue leading the Big Four firm beyond the mandatory retirement age of 60.

Mr Ball, 61, who has been at the helm since 2020, received a further one-year extension, taking his leadership role until June 2025, with the possibility of further extensions.

This move has sparked debate as EY’s policy of enforcing retirement at 60 faces increased scrutiny. The controversy surfaced during the global leader appointment process, where age considerations influenced the decision-making. The clash over the eligibility of 57-year-old British partner Andy Baldwin for the role exemplified this, ultimately leading to the appointment of Janet Truncale.

Mr Ball, intends to serve the full length of his extended term, raising the prospect of additional extensions. Unlike leaders at other Big Four firms, Mr Ball’s initial appointment in 2020 did not have a specific term length. The decision to extend his tenure was ratified by EY’s 12-person partner forum after consultation with equity partners, though the wider UK partnership was not involved, the Financial Times reports.

Financially, Mr Ball received £3.5 million in 2022, up from £2.9m the previous year. In the financial year ending June 2023, EY’s UK business reported a 16% increase in revenues to £3.76 billion. However, average partner pay saw a 5% decrease to £761,000.

EY defended the extension, stating that partner tenures are regularly prolonged for various reasons, including client delivery and leadership responsibilities.

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