Newsmakers podcast: John Parkhouse on resilience and sustainability
News•Business• 28.10.2020 • Thierry Raizer and Duncan Robertrs
PwC Luxembourg CEO John Parkhouse in the company’s Cloche d’Or headquarters on 26 October.
Photo: Roman Gamba
PwC Luxembourg’s CEO talks with Thierry Raizer about the firm’s annual results, the challenge of steering through the health and economic crisis caused by the covid-19 pandemic, and the continued effort to meet its sustainable agenda.
Early in the unprecedented covid-19 crisis PwC Luxembourg set up a “people first strategy” to support its employees says PwC Luxembourg CEO John Parkhouse. “From the very start of this crisis, we were very concerned about how our people were reacting. And how our clients were reacting and what they were going through.”
The message was clear that there would be no layoffs due to covid. “It would be a last resort, and we don’t envisage that at this time,” Parkhouse says.
The speed with which the pandemic hit Luxembourg took the firm by surprise, so it was impossible to be fully prepared for the scale of its impact, Parkhouse says. But thanks to investment over the last three years in technology resources, so many of the tools required to deal with the immediate challenges posed by the pandemic and lockdown were available to them. The firm already had measures in place to enable remote working. “So, we just needed to take that to a different level.”
Listen to John Parkhouse here.
Parkhouse has set up a task force within the company to look at all “good lessons” learned from the crisis, “and how we apply that to what we have termed the ‘next normal’.”
Indeed, the firm’s annual review was titled “Creating sustainable growth in the ‘new normal’” and was, for the fourth time, based on the GRI reporting standards. These provides detailed and transparent insight into its sustainability approach, both internally and in the services offered to clients, around the three key ESG areas of environmental, social, and corporate governance.
Seismic shift to ESG
Parkhouse says he has seen a “seismic shift” in making sure product is designed with ESG characteristics in mind. “That’s coming from a regulatory perspective, in terms of the reporting agenda. But more importantly, I think, it’s coming from an investor perspective.”
PwC Luxembourg reported 3.5% growth for the fiscal year that ended on 30 June--its Assurance (audit) practice enjoyed a 7.3% increase and advisory rose by 6.1%, while tax fell by 3.5%.
It says it remains committed to continuing investment in its 2,796 employees, who represent some of 77 different nationalities. Staff levels are expected to reach 2,875 people in January 2021. In September it announced the admission of eleven new partners.
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