Deloitte Australia’s CEO Expresses Gratitude Despite Feeling Overpaid: Acknowledging My Incredibly Privileged Position

**The Privileged CEO: Deloitte Australia Under Scrutiny Over Executives’ Salaries**

“Are you really worth seven times the salary of the Australian prime minister?” This was the tough question posed to Deloitte Australia CEO Adam Powick during a Senate grilling. Powick’s response was unexpected, as he acknowledged his privilege in earning a salary significantly higher than the prime minister. This exchange took place during a public hearing, which aimed to investigate the integrity of consulting firms providing services to the federal government. The inquiry was launched following a tax leak scandal involving PwC, one of the “Big Four” accounting firms.

The Deloitte CEO’s salary of approximately AUD $3.5 million (USD $2.3 million) pales in comparison to the Australian prime minister’s earnings of AUD $564,356 (USD $385,000). These figures shed light on the vast disparity between executive salaries and those of public officials. However, when questioned about how many Deloitte employees earn over AUD $1 million, Deloitte chairman Tom Imbesi refused to disclose the information, citing “commercial sensitivities.” This evasive response drew criticism from the committee, highlighting the need for transparency in publically funded organizations like Deloitte.

**The Big Four Under Scrutiny: Calls for Reform**

The scandal involving PwC has intensified scrutiny on the “Big Four” consulting firms: PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, and EY. Allan Fels, an Australian economist and former chairman of the ACCC, believes that there needs to be a reassessment of the circumstances in which the government engages consultants. Fels suggests that auditing divisions should be separated from consulting and advisory divisions, arguing that the firms’ claims of keeping these divisions separate are unfounded. The Senate inquiry agrees with this sentiment and aims to introduce reforms to restore public trust in the industry.

Andrew Yates, the CEO of KPMG Australia, described PwC’s actions as “disturbing” and “unacceptable” during a Senate hearing. He acknowledged the need for reforms to address the shortcomings in the industry. However, Yates stopped short of acknowledging his own privileged position and high salary, unlike Powick, the Deloitte CEO.

**Examining Deloitte’s Handling of Staff Complaints**

In addition to questioning executive salaries, the Senate committee also focused on Deloitte’s handling of staff complaints. So far this year, the company has received and substantiated 121 complaints. These complaints cover various issues, including bullying, sexual harassment, discrimination, and the misuse of confidential information. This data raises concerns about the work environment and raises questions about the company’s commitment to addressing and preventing such issues.

Deloitte’s response to these allegations is unknown as the company did not immediately respond to requests for comment from Fortune. However, this lack of response emphasizes the importance of addressing these concerns and improving the company’s response to staff complaints.


The scrutiny faced by Deloitte Australia provides an opportunity for reflection and reform within the consulting industry. The significant disparity in executive salaries compared to public officials raises questions about fairness and equality. Additionally, the handling of staff complaints within the company highlights the need for an improved work environment. The calls for reform and transparency within the “Big Four” indicate that change is necessary to restore public trust and maintain the integrity of consulting firms working closely with the government.

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