RSM, the world’s 6th largest Network of independent audit, tax and consulting advisers focused on the global middle market, has today announced the appointment of Dr Robert Coles as the organisation’s first Chief Culture and Transformation Officer.

After achieving record global growth of 15.8%, RSM is focused on delivering an ambitious strategy to 2030 which embraces future-focused technologies and a highly tailored people and client experience. With a strategy that focuses on transformation, change, and harnessing the power of the global RSM organisation, this role is a critical addition to the international leadership team. 

Reporting to RSM International’s Chief Executive Officer, Ms Jean Stephens, Dr Coles will lead on a number of transformation initiatives, working closely with RSM’s Managing Partners and the global leadership team to foster even greater cross-border collaboration, further nurture RSM’s diverse, entrepreneurial and client-focused culture, and align local and global people activities. 

Dr Coles, a prominent business leader and psychologist with four decades of experience, has an academic background in organisational leadership and cross-cultural workforce development. He joins RSM from the Roffey Park Institute, a leading executive education provider working with government, civil administration and businesses around the world, where he has held the role of Chief Executive Officer since 2018. During this time, he rapidly developed the organisation’s digital capabilities and led the successful expansion of its reach to new international markets via people-focused digital platforms and programmes. 

Dr Coles served as RSM’s European Regional Leader from 2010 to 2015. During his time at Roffey Park, he continued to work closely with RSM’s leadership team as a consultant, supporting initiatives such as the RSM Academy, which develops cross-border team collaboration and next generation leadership talent. Most recently, he and his Roffey Park team worked with Ms Stephens as advisors and facilitators as part of a strategic programme, which saw over 90 RSM leaders from more than 30 countries collaborate to identify impactful and lasting solutions for the global organisation across a range of key strategic priorities. His new role begins on 1 August 2022.

Jean Stephens, Chief Executive Officer of RSM International, said: 

“In an increasingly complex world, it is more important than ever that businesses embrace change, anticipate challenges, and find new opportunities where there are changing market dynamics. RSM is at the forefront of advising global middle market businesses to implement successful and impactful transformation. As a global organisation, RSM is leading by example, accelerating our own transformation agenda. 

“Robert brings significant depth of experience in delivering change projects for multi-national, complex organisations. As a valuable addition to our global leadership team, his expertise will help us to move at greater pace to achieve our objectives, and his deep understanding of RSM positions him ideally for this important new role.”

Commenting on his new role, Dr Robert Coles said:

“Professionalism and excellence are the backbone of RSM’s long-standing success, but it is the Network’s purpose-led, high-performance culture which has always defined it. RSM’s commitment to putting human relationships and culture at the heart of everything it does is a key differentiator. Working with RSM’s leadership team and Member Firms to help deepen those foundational values across such a diverse Network will be a remarkable and rewarding challenge. I relish the prospect of helping RSM to remain a market leader through transformative people-focused strategies and initiatives.”