Boss of tainted Grant Thornton steps down

The boss of tainted Grant Thornton has quit – just days after the firm was slammed for missing a £40million black hole at Patisserie Valerie.
Sacha Romanovitch's resignation is unexpected and comes days after she vowed to stay on at the accountancy group.
The 41-year-old has been at the centre of a power struggle in the partnership, which saw colleagues leak her annual performance review to the media.
Grant Thornton itself has been repeatedly criticised as the audit industry faces accusations of sloppy practice and conflicts of interest.
The firm is in the firing line over the near-collapse of cake chain Patisserie Valerie, whose finance director Chris Marsh has been arrested on suspicion of fraud following the discovery of a shock £40million funding shortfall.
Grant Thornton – which has audited parent firm Patisserie Holdings since 2006 and pocketed up to £600,000 in fees in the last four years alone – could face legal action for failing to spot the problems. 
The business said that Romanovitch has decided not to seek a second four-year term as chief executive after consultation with its board.
It means she will not run for re-election in a vote by Grant Thornton's 200 partners, and instead will stay on only until a successor is found by the end of the year.
Chairman Ed Warner said: 'The board has agreed that a new chief executive is the logical next step to create long-term sustainable profits for the firm.' The announcement follows a wrangle over the direction of the business.
Romanovitch – the only female boss of a large British accountant – put noses out of joint with a bid to turn the company into a shared enterprise in which all 4,500 staff had a stake.
She also stopped competing with rivals such as KPMG and PwC for contracts with the biggest listed companies.
A poison pen letter sent to national newspapers – allegedly backed by 15 partners – accused Romanovitch of pursuing a 'socialist agenda' and included a copy of her performance review.
But less than two weeks ago she said she would face down the critics and keep her job.
And colleagues claimed the Oxford educated boss was likely to run for re-election unopposed.
In a defiant interview early this month, Romanovitch had said: 'Fundamentally, do I think I'm the right person to lead this firm now? Yes. 
Do I think there's unfinished business, in terms of delivering what I set out to achieve? Absolutely.' 
Announcing her resignation yesterday, she said: 'Following discussions with Grant Thornton's board, we have agreed that the time is right for a new chief executive to take the firm forward.'
'It has been a privilege and an honour to lead this Firm. I am proud of what we have achieved in the market, with our people and with our clients, breaking the mould in so many ways.'
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