The Leadership Challenge: Jim Quigley
By Christine Arrington
The Jon M. Huntsman School trains leaders to be ethical, effective, and entrepreneurial. People in top leadership positions face many challenges, a number of which can be considered under the rubric of “balance.” How much to invest, for example, balanced against how much to harvest. Aggressively seeking short-term growth, balanced against the long-term needs of customers and employees. We spoke to six outstanding leaders, who all have degrees from Utah State—five in business and one in engineering—to find out how they have balanced their leadership challenges and pressures, while creating value.
1974 B.S. in Business from USU, 2008 Honorary Doctorate in Business from USU, Global CEO from 2007 until June 2011 of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ltd. Click here for an extended biography.
The Scope of His Position
Jim Quigley has been with Deloitte for 37 years and has moved his family six times. He was U.S. Managing Partner from 2003 to 2007 and then was elected Global CEO for a four-year term from 2007 to June 2011. Under his direction, in 2010 Deloitte became the largest professional services firm in the world, with 170,000 employees (now 182,000), in 150 countries, and with revenue of $26.6 billion.
Critical Strategic Decisions
Looking back over his years in top leadership positions, Jim commented, “I would say three defining moments in the history of Deloitte were: 1. The implosion of Arthur-Andersen in 2001,” (in the wake of the Enron collapse), “2. Adoption of the Sarbanes-Oxley legislation in 2002, and the implications of that, and 3. The decision and actuality of the reunion of the two parts of Deloitte.”
That “reunion” refers to the critical decision to keep the consulting division and the accounting/audit division together in one private firm--at a time when the three other members of the remaining “Big Four” firms chose to split their companies, partly in response to the strictures of regulatory legislation. Ernst & Young sold its consulting services division to Capgemini in 2000. KPMG divested its U.S. consulting division,
KPMG Consulting Inc., through an initial public offering in 2001, and PricewaterhouseCoopers sold its consultancy business to IBM in 2002. Those decisions to split the firms, in retrospect, were viewed by many in the industry as having been very problematic.
When Jim became U.S. Managing Partner of Deloitte in March, 2003, the firm had spent 18 months preparing to separate its consulting and audit divisions into two companies. The team at Deloitte continued to observe the extensive organizational integration taking place among its clients. Then Deloitte and its top leaders began to reconsider their options.“We are a partnership,” Jim said emphatically, “and our
values and attitudes are shared.”
The Deloitte team decided together to walk away from dividing the firm and “to pursue the road less traveled,” Jim said. At that point he repeated from memory several lines of the Robert Frost poem: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; . . . Two roads diverged in a wood, and
I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
The big decision “was taken by the Board,” Jim said, “as it should be.” He supported the decision. Shortly thereafter he stepped into the role of Global CEO.
That fateful decision ended up creating a concrete competitive advantage for Deloitte.
So how did Deloitte reconfigure its firm to meet the new challenges, after the decision was made? Jim said, “We chose to segment the market and not segment the firm.” The next task was his to lead over 18 months--“integrating the firm and segmenting the market.”
Deloitte divided its clients into two groups—one for which the firm provided audit and other services, and one for which the firm provided a range of services, but not audit. He said, “If you don’t audit, say, 80% of the world, then you can provide those clients with a full range of services. With an audit client, nine kinds of services are expressly prohibited by Sarbanes-Oxley, so you must exclude those services.”
“We needed to demonstrate to our clients that we could deliver superior results,” Jim said. “The tactic we adopted was to have one multidisciplinary team that approached each firm, with a full array of the services we could provide them.” The strategy worked beautifully, and Deloitte moved aheadof its competitors. Jim Quigley is viewed by experts in the field as having done a masterful job of leading the process--carefully and skillfully reintegrating the two halves of the company, including realigning the technology tools, for a winning customer-centric approach.
“Our goal was clear, undisputed leadership in professional services,” he said, and Deloitte achieved that. “We became an integrated, multidisciplinary firm . . . and that has made all the difference.”
Ethical Issues and Strengths
Deloitte spends a lot of time training its 182,000 employees in ethics. It has a Chief Ethics Officer and a Hotline to monitor ethics issues.
In addition, Deloitte is regarded as having created a culture that effectively recruits, fosters, promotes, and retains women. Its “Women’s Initiative” program, WIN, was started in 1993 and really was championed “by Mike Cook, one of my predecessors,” Jim said. For women on the partner track, the program includes personal coaching, mentoring, individualized development, and a degree of flexibility for family needs—for taking time off when a child is born, for example.
Mr. Quigley’s first job, at age 10, was rolling hay bales toward the hay stack, in Kanosh, Utah. He moved a lot of sprinkler pipe, too. “Let’s just say, I know a lot about irrigation,” he commented wryly. “I acquired a strong set of values and a strong work ethic through my upbringing. That kind of foundation built in rural America can stand anyone in good stead,” he concluded.