Sander van 't Noordende leaves Accenture after 32 years

01 November 2019 4 min. read
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After serving the company for 32 years, Sander van 't Noordende is leaving Accenture. The Dutchman currently holds a global executive role at the consulting and technology firm, and is passing on the baton to the Simon Eaves.

The 56-year-old Van ’t Noordende was Head of the firm’s Products practice until last month. He had hoped to become the global CEO of the consulting and technology firm, but after that role went to Julie Sweet, he decided it was time to take a step back. Formally, he is resigning on January 1, 2020.

The Dutchman has been working for Accenture since 1987, then Andersen Consulting. In 1998 he became a partner, and three years later, just after Andersen Consulting rebranded as Accenture (inspired by the combination of ‘accent’ and ‘future’), Van 't Noordende became managing director of the Dutch country organisation. Under his leadership, Accenture Netherlands grew its revenues by a compound annual growth rate of 21% over a five year period, to some $500 million.Sander van 't Noordende leaves Accenture after 32 yearsHis performance caught the eye of Accenture’s global leaders, and in 2006 he was named chief executive of the firm’s Resources operating group. Five years later, he took over as chief executive of Accenture’s management consulting business, and most recently, he led the firm’s Products operating group, a division now generating $12 billion in revenues.

“I have held all the roles that I wanted to have within Accenture,” Van ’t Noordende recently told Dutch financial newspaper FD. “Becoming CEO would have been the crowning reward, but that is now out of reach. I'm 56 now, my next chance is in six or seven years. Then I will be 63.”

Despite missing out on the top seat, Van ’t Noordende leaves with a smile. “I owe everything to this company, including friendships.”

Commenting on his departure, chief executive officer Julie Sweet said, “Sander has distinguished himself through his deep industry expertise, the value he has created for many of our largest clients, and the strategic vision and global perspective he brings to the entire business. He has delivered significant contributions to Accenture during his 32year career with our company.”

Sweet continued: “He has driven impressive growth in Products, our largest operating group, and previously led our Management Consulting and Resources businesses globally. Sander has demonstrated a passion for helping clients transform their organisations in the new digital world, as well as a deep commitment to inclusion and diversity at Accenture and beyond. On behalf of Accenture, I wish Sander all the best in the future.”

“Sander has demonstrated a passion for helping clients transform their organisations in the new digital world, as well as a deep commitment to inclusion and diversity.”
– Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture

LGBT ambassador

Alongside his consulting roles, Van ’t Noordende has grown into a LGBT ambassador within the firm and industry. In 1987, during an employer's party of the Dutch office, he openly came out of the closet as a homosexual.

He is a firm believer of diversity, and has been advocating the topic since he was leading Accenture in the Netherlands. “In a culture of equality, where everyone can be themselves and feel respected, there is more creativity, which in turn benefits innovation and hence the business results.”

Now an ambassador for Out & Equal, a non-profit organisation dedicated to achieving lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender workplace equality, Van ’t Noordende regularly speaks on the matter. During the latest World Economic Forum meeting in Davos which he attended, he addressed global leaders to “accept people with a LGBT background for who they are. “Not only because it is a human right, but also because it benefits business performance.”

Asked about his next challenge, Van ’t Noordende said, “We'll see what crosses my path.”