The chief executive of Grant Thornton is to “step down” from the role amid evidence of a revolt against her leadership.
Sacha Romanovitch, who became the first female boss of a major auditor when she took the role three years ago, had been expected to run for a second spell in charge of the partnership.
But it emerged last month that all was not well when details of her appraisal, containing criticism by colleagues, was leaked to newspapers.
The dossier’s source claimed to speak for up to 15 directors or partners.
The company has also come under pressure over the near-collapse of Patisserie Valerie last week.
The discovery of a black hole in the luxury baked goods chain’s accounts – which are audited by Grant Thornton – led police to arrest Patisserie Valerie’s finance boss Chris Marsh on suspicion of fraud last Thursday.
An investigation by the Serious Fraud Office is continuing but the company’s dash to secure a rescue deal has done nothing to ease scrutiny on the work and regulation of major auditors in the wake of the demise of Carillion in January.
The statement said: “Grant Thornton today announces that its CEO, Sacha Romanovitch, in consultation with the board, has decided not to stand for re-election for a second term and is to step down following the identification of a successor.
“A new CEO will be appointed before the end of calendar 2018 following an election process in accordance with the firm’s membership agreement.”
She said of her departure: “As we enter the next phase of our plans, following discussions with Grant Thornton’s board, we have agreed that the time is right for a new CEO to take the firm forward.
“I will be working to support a smooth transition to our next CEO, focusing on continuing to deliver sustainable value for our clients through our diverse and talented team.”