Richard Houston succeeds David Sproul as Deloitte North West Europe CEO

17 December 2018 4 min. read

Deloitte North West Europe (NWE) has appointed Richard Houston as its next Chief Executive Officer. Houston, who takes over at the helm in June next year, will lead a team of over 2,000 partners and 35,000 professionals. 

Richard Houston is currently head of Deloitte’s NWE and UK consulting businesses, and also serves as a senior leader in UK’s executive and Financial Services consulting teams. Commenting on his new role, he said: “It will be an enormous privilege to lead the firm, building on Deloitte’s established preeminent market position.”

The new CEO brings over two decades of experience to the role. After starting his career in the financial services industry, spending eight years at HSBC and Royal Bank of Scotland in the risk, regulatory and finance functions, he joined Arthur Andersen’s UK business in 1996. Two years later, he was admitted to the firm’s partnership. In 2002, after Deloitte snatched the UK arm of the by then stricken Arthur Andersen (as a result of the collapse of US energy giant Enron) from under the nose of rival KPMG, Houston joined around 400 partners in the transition to Deloitte. 

At the Big Four firm, Houston has undertaken a wide-range of large and multi-year consultancy projects, mainly in the financial services industry. In 2011 he was promoted to Managing Partner of the Strategy & Operations practice within Deloitte Consulting, and four years later he ascended to the top role in the firm’s advisory business. He specialises in helping companies with strategy, business transformation, operations management, operating models, talent and technology implementation.Richard Houston - CEO Deloitte North West EuropeHouston’s new role sees him lead Deloitte’s second most important unit, after its North American operation. Deloitte North West Europe comprises the firm’s member firms in Belgium, Ireland, the Netherlands, the Nordics (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden), Switzerland and the UK. 

Deloitte North West Europe

Deloitte established the North West Europe unit in June 2017, as part of its strategy to “deliver services to clients as one seamless global organisation” and to “further increase the growth potential of Deloitte regionally by combining the breadth and depth of capabilities of eight leading member firms” said Global CEO Punit Renjen when the new arm was unveiled. Deloitte NWE has since booked strong growth: the number of employees has increased from around 29,000 partners and employees to its current size of over 37,000, on the back of growth across all four business lines – audit and assurance, consulting, financial advisory and tax. Total revenue for the region stands at over €6 billion, which equates to around 16% of Deloitte’s global fee income of €38 billion.

The current CEO for Deloitte NWE, David Sproul, is presently in his second term as CEO of Deloitte UK, and has led the North West Europe unit since its inception. Previously, he was the Managing Partner for Tax in the UK and Managing Partner for Talent in the UK. Similar to Houston, he joined the Big Four accounting and consulting firm in 2002 from Arthur Andersen. Sproul will retire from business after passing over the baton in the summer of 2019. 

Asked about the opportunities he foresees for Deloitte North West Europe, Houston remarked; “Our clients face an era of substantial change and challenge, and we’re committed to anticipating, managing and leading the response to this. I believe such change presents huge opportunities for Deloitte to make a positive impact.” He added, “Deloitte brings an unrivalled depth and breadth of skills and industry knowledge to help solve the most complex challenges, with a commitment to the highest levels of quality and integrity.” 

Commenting on the value added of Deloitte North West Europe for member firms, Nick Owen, NWE chairman at Deloitte, said, “The North West Europe structure provides us with better access to an abundance of knowledge and talent from across the geographies to offer to our clients. For our people, it promotes further opportunities for career development and international mobility, working seamlessly for our clients on cross-border projects solving their most complex challenges.”