Sacha Romanovitch was pushed out of accountancy firm Grant Thornton after she capped her salary at 20x average pay and shared the firm’s profits with staff.
What it means: Grant Thornton is a big fish in the financial world. It’s work includes auditing (looking at the finances of other businesses to check they’re not doing anything dodgy), tax services (helping businesses and rich people work out what they owe the government and how to legally owe as little as possible) and consultancy (telling those same groups the best way to make big bucks). It made $1.74 billion last year.
In 2015 it promoted Sacha Romanovitch to CEO. She was the first woman to lead a big accounting firm. Unfortunately, she promptly pissed off several of her directors and partners (in this case also Grant Thornton’s owners) who accused her of not focusing on profits and having a “socialist agenda”. Which is odd, because socialists aren't usually down with people taking home several hundred thousand pounds a year in salary (we couldn’t find Romanovitch’s actual wage, but 20x the average UK wage is £552,000).
The main problem was that Romanovitch created a new company structure which gave all staff a share of the firm’s profits. That obviously meant less dough for the company to re-invest in things that would make the company worth more money, like buying new software or setting up new offices. (It also meant there was less profit to give to its partners as salary bonuses, but we’re sure that wasn’t important.) But it raised staff wages by up to 25 percent. That could be good for Grant Thornton if it meant it’s employees worked harder or were less likely to leave the business (replacing and training up staff costs thousands of pounds). Which might have been why Romanovitch thought her plan would be good for profits in the long-term.