Consulting aims to find a replacement for Shaheen, who left to join a new online company, by November. It has appointed partner John T Kelly as interim managing partner and CEO. Consulting refused to comment on likely candidates for the CEO position but possibilities include Keith Burgess, head of the outsourcing unit and Jack Wilson who oversees the firm's global market units. Shaheen's departure comes ahead of a final legally binding ruling from the Paris International Court of Arbitration - expected early next year - on Consulting's divorce from Arthur Andersen. Both sides are believed to be seeking compensation and damages after mounting competition over fees and consultancy work. Shaheen's surprise departure has prompted speculation that it could speed up a settlement with its sister firm. But Vernon Ellis, Consulting's managing director for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, told Accountancy Age that Shaheen's departure would not have any influence. 'The organisation is much more than any one person,' he said. 'There is no reason to change our expectations.' The two-year dispute was prompted by increasing turf wars between the two firms over consultancy work and disagreements over the use of pooled partner fees. The two firms are separate businesses but they remain within an international structure, which includes Arthur Andersen Worldwide. Consulting claims Andersens broke an agreement by setting up a rival consulting unit and poached its consulting staff. Last December, Consulting, which was spun-off in 1998, lodged a detailed claim for divorce at the Paris court. However, there are other options, including an out-of-court settlement and the firms maintaining some kind of special relationship. Consulting has seen strong growth over the last few years with predicted revenue for this year of $9bn (£5.5bn).
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