Leaders & Shapers
Former Chairman of the Board, Deloitte LLP (2003-2011)
Sharon L. Allen served as Chairman of the Board of Deloitte LLP from 2003-2011. In this capacity she led the board in providing oversight and guidance to the management of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries.
Sharon spent the entirety of her career at Deloitte. With 38 years of audit and consulting experience, she oversaw the relationships with a number of major multinational clients.
Sharon’s career has been filled with many successes and "firsts." She began her career in the Boise, Idaho, office and while there she became the office managing partner—Deloitte’s first woman in that role. In 1994 she became the first female board member in Deloitte’s history. She moved to Portland, Oregon, to become that office’s managing partner, and then to Los Angeles to assume the role of regional managing partner for Deloitte’s Pacific Southwest practice. In that role she had overall marketplace responsibility for what was then the second largest region in the country.
In 2000 she was elected to serve a second term on the board and, in 2003, Allen made history when she was elected the first independent chairman of Deloitte LLP—the highest-ranking woman in the organization’s history and the first and only woman ever to serve as chairman of a large, private US professional services organization.
Sharon’s influence and governance responsibilities extended well beyond her US leadership roles. She was also a member of the global board of directors of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, where she served as the US representative on the global governance committee and chaired the global risk committee.
Sharon is Chairman-elect of the National Board of the YMCA, a board member and Chairman of the Audit Committee for Catalyst, Inc., and Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Autry National Center, She also served on the President’s Export Council in Washington, D.C., and on the Women’s Leadership Board at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Sharon has established a reputation as a thought leader and popular public speaker on topics ranging from governance and ethics to talent management and diversity. In 2007, she commissioned what became Deloitte’s annual Chairman’s Ethics & Workplace Survey, and has written articles that have appeared in such publications as Directors & Boards and Directorship and such online forums as Forbes.com and BusinessWeek.com.
Sharon has addressed such prestigious forums as The Boston Club, The City Club of Cleveland, the Dallas Friday Group, the Detroit Economic Club, Fortune Boardroom Reports, Forbes Executive Women’s Forum, and the UN Economic Development Fund. She also has addressed major business schools and leading undergraduate programs including those at Cornell, Duke, Howard University, the University of Illinois, Notre Dame, the University of Pittsburgh, Stanford University, the University of Texas, and the University of Southern California.
Frequently honored for her contributions to business and community leadership, Sharon was named to Forbes’ list of "The 100 Most Powerful Women in the World" for four consecutive years. Crain’s NY Business cited her as one of the most powerful business women in New York, and she was named by Directorship as one of "The 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance" four years in a row. She received the "Making A Difference for Women" award from the National Council for Research on Women, was named the Financial Women’s Association’s "Woman of the Year," received the Work Life Legacy Award from the Families and Work Institute, and earned the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Business Leader Award. Beta Gamma Sigma, the international honor society, named her as their 2009 honoree, and Ethisphere included her on its 2009 list of "The Most Influential People in Business Ethics."
Sharon holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Idaho. In 2004, her alma mater presented her with an honorary doctorate in administrative science.