Jean Stephens, who has led RSM International for 17 years, plans to step down in May 2024 and become a senior advisor to the network.
During her tenure, she led significant growth of the network and spearheaded an ambitious 2030 strategy. The RSM CEO Succession Committee plans to conduct a rigorous process in the months ahead to choose the next CEO to lead RSM through 2030 and beyond. After May, Stephens will continue for a period of time at RSM in an advisory capacity, while focusing on member matters and development, and to support an effective transition to the next chief executive.
During Stephens’ tenure as CEO, the network has grown from $2.4 billion, with 23,000 people across 72 countries, to global revenue as of January 2023 of $8 billion, with 57,000 people across 120 countries. She established the RSM Academy, which provides global training to RSM’s next generation of leaders.
RSM was the only global professional services network until as recently as last year to have a female CEO, and Stephens has acted as a role model for women in leadership positions across the accounting profession. She started at the RSM global executive office in London in 1996 as chief operating officer before being named CEO on Jan. 1, 2006.
“RSM is one of the most progressive professional services organizations in the world,” Stephens said in a statement Wednesday. “It has been an extreme honor and a real privilege to lead such an ambitious and entrepreneurial Network and to work so closely and for so long with RSM’s exceptional leaders and teams of professionals around the world. It is their focus, collaboration, and dedication that has made RSM the great organization we are today. With a new strategy to 2030 firmly in place, it is the natural next step in the evolution of RSM that we welcome in a new global CEO that will complete that journey and take RSM from the strength of today to a new high in 2030.”
RSM International board chairman Joe Adams congratulated her on her service. “We are grateful to Jean for her outstanding service to RSM over the last 17 years as CEO,” he said in a statement. “Her significant and sustained leadership has been instrumental in building the RSM network into the dynamic, global organization it is today and her engagement in the development of our Global 2030 Strategy will help lead us into the future. We are fortunate that Jean will remain with RSM as a strategic advisor with a focus on membership matters and development in support of a successful transition, even as we empower new leadership to help drive us to achieve the 2030 strategy.”