PwC Advisory Leadership – "The Bundler" Ascends

By Francine • Oct 16th, 2008 • Category: Pure Content


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A while back I took the word of a few sources and predicted the removal of Juan Pujadas as leader of PwC Advisory Services for the US.  If only wishing made it so…

In spite of less than stellar results that were not necessarily highlighted by the limited information in their financial results press release, issued a month before the actual report is released and with limited detail, Juan Pujadas is now responsible for PwC Advisory on a global basis.  That’s the way these firms work, “Peter Principle.” This change is aligned with PwC’s new “cluster” organization, which sticks countries, practices, and people together like chewing gum, dead leaves, and dirt on the bottom of your shoe.
But it’s not Juan Pujadas I am referring to when I speak of “The Bundler.” It is R. Carter Pate, a  

Texas oilman type name if ever you cared to shake a divining rod at it.  No surprise since Texas oil is his pedigree.  Mr. Pate was named US Advisory Services Managing Partner, reporting to Juan Pujadas.
And it’s no surprise that PwC might choose him at this precarious point in their efforts to revitalize their Advisory Services practice. Mr. Pate is, ” a world-renowned restructuring expert at PricewaterhouseCoopers with more than twenty years experience providing strategic consulting and implementation strategies. He is the co-author of The Phoenix Effect – 9 Revitalizing Strategies No Business Can Do Without (John Wiley & Sons; 2002).”

If you need a taste of his management style and philosophy, just take a look at this excerpt from the above mentioned interview:

Interviewer: Certainly many companies have bungled layoffs. In the book you say there is a right and a wrong way to handle layoffs. Can you share one of the many layoff tips from the book with us?

Pate:
Most people think Friday is the best time for layoffs, but I always recommend Monday morning. A Friday layoff leaves your employee with two days of unstructured time that can’t be spent on a new job search. And the remaining employees will be unsettled all weekend having had no opportunity to ask questions and process the changes. After you’ve conducted the layoffs in the morning, call a meeting for Monday afternoon to present the financial data explaining why the layoffs were necessary and how the saved costs will help put the company back on course.

So PwC Advisory folks, beware the meeting called for early Monday morning!

When I was working for PwC auditing the firm itself, there were quite a few things going on with PwC’s newly established Federal Services Practice.  It was a rare bird that, led by R. Carter Pate, sort of included both audit services and advisory services under one roof. Not an easy feat, especially post-Sarbanes-Oxley, even for a practice focused on serving the federal government.  It is also a practice that takes full advantage of alliances with defense contractors such as Northrup Grumman, Siemens, Lockheed Martin, and SAIC.  I could tell you more but then I’d have to kill you.  Suffice to say, I spent a lot of time in Washington DC.
Mr. Pate is a rare bird, too, a peacock of sorts, who came to PwC as a very experienced hire.  Since he has an accounting degree, from Greensboro College in 1976, Mr. Pate is qualified to be a real equity partner at PwC.  I’m assuming he’s licensed!
What’s only known in the Washington DC circles is that Mr. Pate is a rabid Republican, and a Ranger. That’s the name given to the biggest donors to the Republican Party.  I wonder if he’s slept in the Lincoln Bedroom?  Not too long ago, Mr. Pate was prominently featured in the Washington Post story about the “bundler” process.  This is where those with influence and perhaps something to give in return, gather donations from rich friends, acquaintances, family members, alumni and business associates in order to circumvent the limits on individual donations.  Mr. Pate is a helluva bundler!  
Is PwC staking the future of its Advisory practice on Mr. Pate’s Republican Party connections?   They’d better check the polls.  
Or maybe they are looking for his “world-class expertise in restructuring and troubled companies?”  Well, we may be getting warmer.  Between PwC’s clients and PwC Advisory itself, there’s going to be a lot of work for him, but I’m not sure how lucrative it will be.
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7 Responses »

  1. So the difference between a bungled layoff and a good one is the day of the week? Wow. I thought it was more complicated than that. No wonder we have people flee the big four to come work for us.

    - Susan

  2. Is there a point to any of this rambling? Other than you’re clearly bitter over your past experience with Mr. Pate?

    Also, we should all be so lucky as to be in a business where 14% annual revenue growth is deemed “a precarious point”.

    - Former PwC manager who isn’t bitter.

  3. @Anon
    100000 page views since the end of Aug says to me someone finds my “rambling” interesting. Actually I never met Pate. Partner took all the beatings. As far as results, given lack of transparency, full disclosure, segment reporting, how successful US Advisory rally is is anyones guess.

  4. I’ve heard stories about Mr. Pate and his temper. I know people are afraid of him. But since he assumed his new role in July, I know several people who’ve received personal emails from him, thanking them for something they did (e.g., high utilization, big revenue win, etc.).

    Clearly, he’s closely monitoring results and is quick to acknowledge high-level performance. While that’s not a tremendous accomplishment, it’s more than Mr. Pujadas ever did.

    I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop at mid-year … i.e., I suspect he’ll be as quick to demote/layoff as he is to praise. But I’d rather have Captain Bligh at the helm of the ship than Edward Smith. At least Bligh could navigate.

  5. ive met Mr. Pate a few times…his persona is similar to that of someone who could be a George W Bush drinking buddy…

  6. What was requested from PWC, nearly a month ago, was a simple ROI that PWC
    may have produced regarding the Green Tax Incentives and the request identified
    a clear example published by Ernst & Young so the request may not be misconstrued.

    Putting it all together.
    Paul Naumoff, Co-National Director, Business Incentives and Credits
    Ernst & Young, June11, 2008 Please See page 16
    http://www.taxadmin.org/fta/meet/08am/presentations/Naumoff2.pdf

    PWC confirmed that
    PWC does not have a single comprehensive Green ROI case study
    and
    PWC is absolutely content with this delinquency.

    And, requesting the opportunity to actually produce a simple case study,
    has consistently been refused.

    Consistently on the daily news wire, the refrain of theses last few political weeks has been:
    "They just don't get it".
    They, being the financial institutions, squarely including the accounting firms.

    The last poll taken showed a 14% approval rate. 1% above Dick Cheney.

    Not one comment on Ernst & Young's amazing ROI showing a
    2 million dollar return on a $60,000.00 Green investment???

    PWC's 'excuses' for 'no comment' may be construed when the report is released
    as just another instance of 'They Just don't get it".

    Ernst & Young's ROI reflects an immediate Jobs creation case study in the middle
    of potentially the worst Jobs Loss situation in American History now hovering
    toward double-digits.

    PWC's response ?

    None! Zip! Zero! Nada! Bupkus! Tough Nuggies!

    May I predict another Media & Public Relations coup when the full report is released.

    When the question more clearly exposes:
    "Have the accounting firms 'contributed anything'
    to the understanding of certain Tax Incentives that may directly create jobs",
    is answered 'Absolutely not', PWC may have a much bigger PR concern tomorrow
    than the Poll numbers of today may indicate in the eye's of the average citizen/taxPayer,
    that some of the Accounting halls of power may contain only more Souse chef's assisting the
    captains of industry with 'cooking the books' and helping with 'Gutting the economy'.

    The days of the same old tired knee-jerk "Let's shoot the messenger!" may be gone
    when such ignorance and arrogance is juxtaposed in the light of such dire national
    consequences for such delinquency.

    Especially now, since the Jobs Stimulus Package has targeted an additional 54 billion
    toward Green Jobs to help curb this national catastrophe.

    It may have been just a pity, if the stakes were not so high, that your company
    has decided to 'abstain' from such an important national conversation.

    At it stands, it may be construed as a national disgrace :-(

  7. [...] I mentioned in a blog post at the time, Mr. Pate is a big booster for the Republican Party and worked very hard campaigning for John [...]

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