What’s Next for PwC Boss
4 months ago, 8 Mar 16:37
It’s been a good run for Ann Eriksson after 40 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), 30 years of which she was a senior partner and the first African female head. But the fat lady has sung and by June she will exit that stage. Nonetheless, the children are all grown now and out of the nest, an illustrious career is behind her, casting a long shadow of success, notches have been punched in her belt and so here she stands at the rubicon of her professional career, attention cast yonder. The alumnus of the University of Warwick, UK and Alliance Girls High School faces a life of passions that had sort of taken a back seat; dancing, trekking, family, travel, tending to her beloved orchids (yes orchids! More on that later). Once in a while, she admits that she might be lured back to the fray for some consultancy work. Who knows? You never really walk away completely after all those years, do you? She met JACKSON BIKO at the PwC offices in Westlands. I had expected someone elderly, but you look so young, you have no business retiring. What are you going to do with yourself? (Laughs) I will take that as a compliment. I think it’s time. It’s been a great experience and journey here but all things come to an end and thankfully this is coming to an end at a good moment. What am I going to do? Oh, lots. I will go dancing and trekking, I will travel with my husband, I will look after orchids. I don’t think retirement means sitting at home. I don’t want to be prescriptive at this stage, but obviously I will not be idle. I hope to spend more time with family. My mother lives in Kisii. I don’t visit often enough. I’m hesitating talking about work in various boards and whatever because that’s what everybody expects me to do. Perhaps there will be a bit of that. What is your absolute truth? Integrity. (Pause) Yes, that features up there. I don’t suppose getting to be the first female partner of this firm was not a walk in the farm, what character trait does one need to sit at the high table? (Long pause) It’s not one thing. But one very important one is to have purpose; ‘‘what am I aiming to achieve?’’ That and not having a very long time horizon. When I joined the firm, I never even dreamt of being a partner. But in work, you’ve got to give as much as you are hoping to receive. Perhaps even give more than you probably receive. If I can then be very specific about being a female, I honestly never, I hope, carry myself as a woman. That, in my view, is important. You’ve got to equate yourself mentally and psychologically in the workplace with your male folk. Not be round a table and talking woman, gender. But it’s about what the business issue is. Not to say ...
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