- Jamie Miller will be moving to the role of global CFO of the proposed new public entity of Ernst & Young’s consulting arm, the company announced Tuesday, one day after Miller announced her departure from her CFO post at Cargill, effective Jan. 13.
- Miller — the Minnetonka, Minn.- based agribusiness giant’s first woman CFO — departs on the heels of a leadership reshuffling within the C-suite. Brian Sikes was promoted from chief operating officer to CEO on Jan. 1, and Joanne Knight is taking the financial helm on an interim basis while the company seeks a permanent replacement for Miller, the company announced.
- The CFO move happens against the backdrop of regulators increasing scrutiny of potential conflicts of interest in the audit profession. EY’s new consulting division is part of a planned separation of the business into two, distinct multidisciplinary organizations, one for consulting and one for auditing.
At EY, Miller “will be focused on preparing NewCo to transition to a public company, and successfully completing the proposed transaction,” an EY spokesperson wrote to CFO Dive. The separate divisions of EY are temporarily operating under the names of NewCo for the consulting arm, and AssureCo for the auditing arm.
The split will allow NewCo to be more profitable as it is now unrestricted by regulatory pressures and is set to “support clients’ growth, risk and transformation agendas,” an EY spokesperson told CFO Dive in September when the split was announced.
Before the split, the firm could not provide both consulting and audit services to the same client, but under the new plan a client could potentially be a customer of both successor entities, the spokesperson said.
“The selection of Miller is another step in the separation process outlined last year. EY is moving forward in a thoughtful and deliberate manner, making strong progress on the path to partner votes,” the company said in the release.
“I am excited to join EY. I believe in the core values, vision and potential of the future company. It is a unique opportunity to be part of what will be one of the most disruptive strategies in any industry this decade,” Miller said in a statement.
Prior to her former post at Cargill, Miller was CFO of General Mills Inc. for over a decade, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Although the schedule of the split’s finalization was pushed back — with the UK’s vote taking place this quarter — the company has continued “to start to run these two businesses separately, albeit they will continue to be part of the single enterprise of EY," Andy Baldwin, global managing partner of the firm told Reuters in a December podcast.
“Ahead of the partner vote in Spring this year, we are on track and remain confident in our plans,” the spokesperson said. “The AssureCo part of the business remains a partnership, and will therefore have different needs from a finance leader than that of a public company,” they said.
Over the course of the coming weeks, EY has plans to name additional leaders to a range of positions in the two proposed post-split organizations that will result if the voting by partners is successful, according to the release.