John Parkhouse, managing partner of PwC Luxembourg, ranks 6th in the 2022 edition of the Paperjam Top 100. (Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne)

John Parkhouse, managing partner of PwC Luxembourg, ranks 6th in the 2022 edition of the Paperjam Top 100. (Photo: Guy Wolff/Maison Moderne)

Gatherer, decision-maker, innovator: this is how John Parkhouse, who was for eight years territory senior partner at PwC, is most often described. He is a straightforward leader whose seemingly relaxed demeanour hides a hard worker. For Paperjam, his portrait is drawn by Philippe Seyll, the head of Clearstream.

Obviously, when you have been the senior partner/CEO territory of the country’s largest service firm with more than 3,000 employees for eight years, you must naturally have some influence. Having arrived in Luxembourg in 1994 after a spell with Coopers & Lybrand, has indeed succeeded in building a professional network almost as dense as that of the Post Office.

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Five years later, in 1999, he became a partner. He was already recognised as “one of the best international experts in the field of asset management and investment funds.” In 2007, he became responsible for the entire EMEA region (Europe, Middle East, Africa) within the PwC network. Elected territory senior partner/CEO in 2014, he succeeded Didier Mouget on 1 July 2015. He was re-elected in 2018 for a second four-year term.

A hard worker

But if the position sometimes makes the man, as the habit makes the monk, John Parkhouse owes the fact that he has become a voice that is listened to, someone from whom many want to seek good advice, above all to himself. Behind his relaxed appearance lies a hard worker who has the ability to rally his clients, his staff and his collaborators.

His clients say that he is a good listener and that his actions follow his words. This is a nice compliment, reflecting a great asset when you are in charge of managing a service company, as he is. It is certain that the human warmth he exudes inspires confidence, whether at large international conferences, which he is accustomed to, or in smaller groups.

For their part, his colleagues describe him as a convener, a decision-maker and an innovator. John Parkhouse has always advocated a collaborative, transparent management style that is strongly oriented towards the transformation of the business under the impulse of digital technology. Although he always prefers to be direct, his management of teams is also a skilful balance of patience, calm and warm presence.

This is a way of doing things that cannot be equated with a certain amount of naivety. He is an excellent analyst and a chartered business auditor who knows how to measure every issue. For John Parkhouse, the strength of a team will always be greater than the sum of its individual parts.

An ambassador of luxury for his adopted country

His sense of duty is at the service of his company, but also of culture in the broad sense in Luxembourg. Very active at Amcham and ILA, he has also worked hard behind the scenes for the development of national economic activity. His participation in Luxembourg’s delegations to promote industrial, technological and financial know-how abroad is countless, making him a luxury ambassador for his adopted country, where he founded his family.

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An avid cricket fan, John Parkhouse likes to say that at home, “my wife is the family accountant.” His relationship with money has always been fairly relaxed. “I’ve never been focused on money and I’ve always spent without much planning, thinking or budgeting. So there have been periods in the past when I’ve spent more than I had,” he explained in an interview in 2019. He said that this did not prevent him from knowing the value of things, as he came from a modest family, with a policeman father and a teacher mother. He earned his first salary from a job as a paperboy.

His real wealth is friendship. Despite a 48-hour day, he manages to preserve special moments for his loved ones. As for his friends, who confirm that “he is always there when you need him.” Another quality that is becoming increasingly rare in a world where everything moves faster and faster.

This article was written for published on 14 December 2022. The content of the magazine is produced exclusively for the magazine. It is published on the website as a contribution to the complete Paperjam archive. 

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This story was first published in French on . It has been translated and edited for Delano.