Press releases

Deloitte leaders recognised as champions of women in business

12 September 2019

Published today, six Deloitte role models have been named to the HERoes Women Role Model lists, supported by Yahoo Finance, in recognition of their support for women in the workplace. The lists rank the leading champions of women in business across a range of career levels.

Now in its third year, the three HERoes’ lists – ‘100 Women Executives,’ ‘50 Women Future Leaders’ and ‘40 Advocate Executives’ – celebrate business leaders who are helping to increase gender diversity at work and support the career development of women. This year, Deloitte leaders were included in all three lists:

  • Sharon Thorne, Deloitte global board chair, and Emma Codd, Deloitte global special advisor on inclusion, have been named to the 100 Women Executives list, which showcases senior female role models who are helping to increase gender diversity in the workplace;
  • David Sproul, global deputy chief executive, and Stephen Mercer, leader of the Deloitte UK technology consulting practice, are featured in the 40 Advocate Executives list, which includes senior male leaders who are making a significant contribution to gender diversity and the promotion of women to senior business roles; and
  • Shilpa Shah, Deloitte UK director in consulting, and Sheree Atcheson, Deloitte UK diversity and inclusion leader in consulting, are included in the 50 Women Future Leaders list, which honours inspirational women who are not yet senior leaders in an organisation but are making a significant contribution to gender diversity at work.

Dimple Agarwal, managing partner for people & purpose at Deloitte, said: “It’s a huge achievement to have six of our people recognised in this renowned list, celebrating their work championing women in the workplace. In July, we were privileged to receive Business in the Community’s Gender Equality Award. These awards remind us of the great work we have done but also how much more we have to do. We will continue to work hard to further increase the number of female partners in the firm by prioritising the development and retention for the women we hire.”

Female representation at partner level in the UK has gone up from 13% in 2013 to 21% this year. In March, Deloitte rolled out its Return to Work programme* into a year-round recruitment process allowing candidates to apply to re-start their careers in their own time. This is all part of the firm’s strategy to remove barriers to employment and provide support to people, especially women, who have had time away from work.

About our people

Sharon Thorne has long been a champion of Deloitte’s ambition to achieve higher representation of women in leadership globally. She became the first woman appointed to the role of chair of the Deloitte global board of directors in June 2019. In addition to holding a number of executive and regional roles, including Deloitte UK managing partner talent and Deloitte UK managing partner regional markets, Sharon has spent more than three decades on boards. In her previous role as Deloitte’s talent partner, Sharon set up the firm’s diversity networks in 2007. She also introduced flexible working, childcare support, maternity coaching, and launched a ‘Women in Leadership’ group to work to help more women attain leadership positions at the company.

Emma Codd works with the firm’s global leadership on enabling and embedding inclusion across the organisation. Emma was managing partner for talent for Deloitte UK for six years, up to June 2019. In this role Emma led a significant period of change for the firm from a gender diversity perspective. This included the design and implementation of Deloitte’s approach to agile working – including the award winning Time Out programme* – the successful delivery of numerous targeted actions to increase gender diversity at all levels within the firm, and its focus on respect and inclusion.

David Sproul is the firm’s global deputy chief executive, and previously UK and North West Europe CEO for eight years. David has always encouraged an open and honest dialogue in Deloitte around respect and inclusion and rolled out initiatives to increase the representation of women in leadership roles setting a target of having 25% female partners in the UK by 2020 and 40% by 2030 an increase from 13% in 2013. He also led in ensuring all people feel they can safely call out issues. He is a keen advocate of increasing pay gap transparency ensuring Deloitte was one of the first large companies to voluntarily report on its gender pay gap in the UK in 2015, before it was mandatory.

Stephen Mercer has over the past three years sponsored and championed a respect and inclusion programme within technology consulting. This resulted in a number of initiatives to improve gender equality, addressing female representation across all leadership teams and dramatically increasing the number of female technologists in the business.

Shilpa Shah leads and grew the Women in Technology (WiT) network at Deloitte. Shilpa has defined gender based targets and shaped the firm’s ethnic minority targets for the technology consulting practice.

Sheree Atcheson has provided training to executive leadership to develop focused diversity and inclusion strategies. As a passionate advocate for gaining and retaining women in the industry, she launched & led the award-winning UK expansion of Women Who Code since 2013.


Notes to editors
Initiatives offered by Deloitte as part of its commitment to supporting women in the workplace, include:

Return to Work programme
*Deloitte announced changes to its award-winning Return to Work programme earlier this year. Instead of accepting returners every six months, Deloitte is rolling the programme into its year-round recruitment process, meaning candidates can apply for a job as soon as they are ready to re-start their careers.

Return to Work retraining programme
Aspiring returners with no experience, training or degree in software development or engineering could apply to join the programme and become part of a new generation of tech talent. Successful applicants will train in coding, software development and more, while gaining a fully funded professional qualification in partnership with Makers Academy.

Agile working
*The option to purchase an additional 10 days of annual leave each year and the ability to take a four-week block of unpaid leave each year through our Time Out scheme.

Working parents transition programme
Working parents transition programme delivered by external coaches, offering pre- and post-parental leave support through bespoke coaching sessions.

Emergency childcare
The provision of access to emergency childcare or eldercare with two hours’ notice and peer-to-peer support through our Working Families network.

Paternity leave/ leave for non-birthing parents
Last month, Deloitte announced changes to its paternity leave, doubling paid leave from two to four weeks for any of the firm’s non-birthing parents.

About Deloitte
In this press release references to “Deloitte” are references to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”) a UK private company limited by guarantee, and its network of member firms, each of which is a legally separate and independent entity.

Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

Deloitte LLP is a subsidiary of Deloitte NSE LLP, which is a member firm of DTTL, and is among the UK's leading professional services firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

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