Deloitte US has named Cathy Engelbert chief executive officer, marking the first Big Four appointment of a woman leader in the country.
Having joined Deloitte in 1986, until recently Engelbert led the firm’s audit practice; her appointment as chief executive officer and chairman will come into effect on 11 March 2015.
Engelbert is also a former member of both Deloitte’s board of directors and its strategic investment, finance & audit, risk, and regulatory & government relations committees.
Engelbert’s appointment also coincides with the election of consulting leader Mike Fucci to chairman of the board.
Commenting on her appointment, Deloitte chairman of the board praised Engelbert’s experience of both working with regulators and advising some of the business’s "largest and most complex global clients".
Deloitte’s interim chief executive officer and soon to be chief operating officer Frank Friedman described Engelbert as having been "a formidable and influential industry presence during her many years at Deloitte.
"In electing the first female CEO in the industry, Deloitte continues to lead in fostering inclusive leadership," he said, adding that the firm was also the first to elect a minority chief executive officer, as well as a female chairman and minority chairman.
The American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) praised Deloitte’s decision, with chief executive officer Barry Melancon describing Engelbert’s appointment as "a momentous occasion for the CPA profession."
"Historically, ours is a profession that has promoted the blending of work and life for advancement along a variety of paths," he added, "Cathy will be a role model for future generations of female leaders in our profession."
Engelbert’s appointment by Deloitte follows that of Cindy Hook; a member of Deloitte Australia’s leadership team since 2009, she became the first female chief executive officer to lead a Big Four firm in the country in December last year.