Meet The Auditor – Deborah DeHaas

Deborah L. DeHaas
Vice Chairman & Regional Managing Partner
Deloitte & Touche USA, LLP; Midwest Region

Deborah is the Vice Chairman and Regional Managing Partner for Deloitte & Touche USA LLP Midwest Region, which includes offices in Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Omaha, Cedar Rapids, Davenport and Des Moines. With 5,000 professionals, Deloitte is the largest Big Four firm in the region. In this role, Deborah leads the quality, client satisfaction, growth and human resource initiatives in the region. Deborah also serves as advisory partner on a number of the firm’s most significant clients in the Chicago area. Prior to assuming her current role, she was the Regional Managing Partner of Strategic Clients for the Midwest Region.

Deborah served as the 2003/2004 Campaign Chair for United Way. She is the Treasurer of Millennium Park, Inc. and WTTW/Channel 11, where she also serves on the Executive Committee. In addition, she is on the Boards of the Chicago Club, the Executives’ Club of Chicago and the Economics Club of Chicago. She is a member of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, the Museum of Science and Industry, World Business Chicago, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Northwestern University.

Deborah graduated from Duke University with a B.S. in Management Science and Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant and a member of several state and national professional societies, including the AICPA and the Illinois CPA Society.

‘When you set goals, be willing to take risks and stretch yourself’

Interview conducted by Ann Therese Palmer
Published June 21, 2004

Deborah DeHaas, 44, was named Midwest managing partner Monday at Deloitte & Touche, the global accounting firm. DeHaas landed at Deloitte in 2002 after a long career at Andersen–the year 5,000 Andersen employees found themselves looking for new jobs after the firm’s indictment in the Enron scandal.

Q. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

A. I wanted to be an accountant.

Sister act: Deborah DeHaas, left, and Betsy Holden have hit the heights, but it hasn’t always been an easy climb. Betsy D. Holden and Deborah DeHaas

They’re two of the highest-ranking women in corporate Chicago. Still , it’s been a tough few years for sisters Deborah DeHaas and Betsy Holden. Ms. DeHaas was once the top audit partner in accounting giant Andersen’s Chicago office — that is, until 2002, when the Enron debacle brought down the house that Arthur built. After her home for most of her professional life collapsed around her, Ms. DeHaas migrated to crosstown rival Deloitte & Touche LLP, taking legions of Andersen refugees with her. Today, she tends to Deloitte’s largest Midwest clients — those with more than $1 billion in revenues.

Betsy Holden climbed the food chain at Northfield-based Kraft Foods Inc., the nation’s largest food company, starting in 1984 as a low-level brand manager, later becoming president of the Tombstone Pizza unit and then the cheese division. Along the way, she displayed a knack for pumping new life into tired product lines — expanding flavors and varieties of shredded cheese, for instance, and repackaging products with consumers’ convenience in mind. In 2001, she was named co-CEO with colleague Roger Deromedi. Disappointing sales, lackluster product launches and other mishaps followed, and Ms. Holden was nudged aside late last year. Mr. Deromedi is now solo CEO. Ms. Holden remains at Kraft with a global marketing job.

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