finance

Big Four firm names new office heads in round of senior promotions



PwC has announced the appointment of Matthew Hall as its office senior partner in Edinburgh and Robin McBurnie in the equivalent role in Glasgow.

The professional services firm has also appointed its Business Recovery Services leader Jason Higgs and external auditor Paul Cheshire as partners based in Edinburgh. Higgs recently made the switch from London.

Mairi Massey has been named head of tax in the firm’s Energy Centre of Excellence in Aberdeen and the firm has also announced the arrival of Marianne Breen-Hart from Accenture as a director in its Technology Risk business, based in Edinburgh.

Hall is an audit specialist who has been office senior partner in Gatwick for the last two years. He takes over from Mark Hoskyns-Abrahall, who has led the Edinburgh office since 2014 and will focus on his role as head of audit for the Northern Business Unit.

McBurnie first joined PwC in 2000 from hotels group Stakis, before leaving in 2003 to join BT. He returned to PwC in 2009 and became a consulting partner in 2017. He leads PwC’s UK Oracle practice with a focus on financial services. He will oversee 400 staff after taking over from Glasgow senior partner Kenny Wilson, who remains a member of PwC’s Supervisory Board.

Claire Reid, regional leader for PwC Scotland, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Jason and Paul to the partnership, while Matthew and Robin bring enormous experience to their new roles as office senior partners for Edinburgh and Glasgow.

“The last few months have been incredibly challenging but as we begin to think about the future, I’m confident that the leadership team we have in place in Scotland is perfectly placed to work with our clients to help the Scottish economy recover.

“Mark has been Edinburgh OSP for more than six years and has done a fantastic job. Mark led our Edinburgh office in our move to Atria One in March 2014 and has been an approachable and dedicated leader to our people and visitors in Edinburgh throughout his tenure.

“In Glasgow, Kenny has seen staff at our Bothwell Street office grow to more than 400 and I know from personal experience, having moved back to Glasgow from London in 2016, that he has taken enormous pride in his role. Both Kenny and Mark will continue their roles as audit partners.

“I also look forward to working closer with Jason and Paul. While it’s been a challenging few months for everyone, it remains important to plan for the future and invest in our firm. Ensuring we continue to develop future leadership demonstrates that we’re confident about the future and we are ready to support our clients.”

Hall added: “I’m delighted to be moving back to Edinburgh and joining the PwC team in Scotland. Edinburgh has always been special to me – I met my wife Fiona here at university, and I’m excited about this opportunity to lead PwC’s office and being a part of the wider community.

“The last few months have clearly been a challenging time for business and society as a whole, and I will be focussed on how PwC continues to support our people, our clients and our community.”

McBurnie said: “As a proud and lifelong citizen of Glasgow, I am delighted to take on the position of OSP, taking over from Kenny Wilson who has represented PwC fantastically in this role over the last few years.

“Citizens of every city around the globe have been affected either directly or indirectly by the impact of Covid-19 and while the safety and wellbeing of our people remains a priority, we are very much looking forward to a safe return to the office at the right time.”

The addition of Higgs and Cheshire takes the number of PwC partners in Scotland to 31. Higgs, who relocated to Edinburgh from London in 2019 and becomes a partner in the Deals practice, has been focussed on helping clients raise funds and plan for the future amid the Covid-19 crisis.

He said: “I’m thrilled to be joining the partnership and never envisaged that I would do so at such a crucial juncture for Scottish business. Since the beginning of my career with PwC in private business, I have built a wide variety of technical and leadership experiences both in the UK and internationally and I’m looking forward to working with Scottish businesses to help the country emerge from the pandemic in a strong position.”

Cheshire joined PwC straight from university in 2004. Upon qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he spent three years in PwC’s Auckland office in New Zealand before returning to Edinburgh in 2011. He will be responsible for growing the PwC Scotland external audit practice, where he leads a portfolio of well-known Scottish clients. Cheshire will also deliver external audit of private and listed businesses.

He said: “Throughout my career I have predominantly been focused on external audit, most recently leading the PwC Scotland external audit team focusing on family businesses, private businesses and private equity backed businesses.

“I have worked with clients ranging from the small to the very large across a number of industries and sectors including food and drink, technology, manufacturing, infrastructure and hospitality and leisure. And I look forward to continuing these relationships, and making new ones, at such a critical time for businesses in Scotland.”

Massey has nearly 25 years’ experience in corporate tax, working with clients in oil & gas and renewables space, including M&A transactions.

She said: “The energy environment is changing rapidly as companies work towards zero carbon, and society demands alternatives to fossil fuel. At PwC, we are helping clients navigate energy transition, which presents opportunities as well as challenges both for our client base and their investors.

“I am very proud of the team here in Aberdeen, and the flexibility and agility they demonstrate in responding to this new environment.”

Kevin Reynard, Aberdeen office senior partner, said: “We have a very close-knit team here in Aberdeen, with an obvious focus on the energy sector, and Mairi is a well-liked and respected member of the senior team here. She has been leading the Aberdeen tax team with a great blend of market focus, pastoral care and Xlos working, for some time now so I am delighted that this has been recognised.”

Breen-Hart has spent her career working on large global and strategic projects and last year won the Technology and Digital category at the UK-wide Women of the Future awards.



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