Professional services firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers India on Tuesday witnessed the exit of executive director (tax practice) Amrish Shah, even as the industry was rife with rumors that the firm, which is the largest in India, could see a major churn involving senior partners. Mr Shah, who is understood to have left due to professional reasons, was not reachable for comment.
PwC, which is currently in the limelight for its partners’ alleged role in the Satyam fraud (Price Waterhouse was the audit firm for the software company), recently saw the appointment of Gautam Banerjee as its chairman, taking over from Ramesh Rajan. The change in guard that happened before the expiry of Mr Rajan’s term, sparked speculation that the global parent was taking strong steps to contain the damage from the Satyam scandal.
The speculation also led to rumours about a large team from PwC’s tax team — the tax practice is one of the largest divisions — leaving the firm. It was also being speculated that tax practice leader Dinesh Kanabar, along with a large team of senior executives, would quit to join a rival firm.
Mr Kanabar categorically denied the information. “There is no truth in such news. This is a figment of imagination and completely baseless. The tax practice at PwC is considered to be the best and we are proud of that,” he told ET.
Mr Kanabar also sent out an internal e-mail to all his PwC senior partners denying the rumours. In 2007, about 500 people from RSM moved over to PwC after the merger of RSM’s tax practice with PwC. With the addition of people from RSM, the combined strength of the tax and audit team in PwC rose to 4,000 people across India.
The tax practice is also one of the fastest and the largest divisions in PwC accounting for 55 of the total 170 partners in the firm. India is an important market for PwC, which last year audited over 140 Indian companies including big names such as Maruti Suzuki, United Breweries, United Spirits, GMR Infra, Glenmark Pharma and Piramal Healthcare.
The India market, even in a recession-hit economy, netted the global firm revenues in excess of Rs 1,000 crore last fiscal year. Although the India business is small compared to the overall revenue of $28 billion for the global firm, the rate of growth of about 20-25% is among the fastest region for the firm.