By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager.
Martin Bodenham was always ahead of the curve and willing to veer off the traditional upward trajectory in a time where the very definition of a successful executive meant climbing the corporate ladder one laborious rung at a time.
“I left the Big Four in 2003,” says the current author of two financial thriller novels. “ For most of the two thousands, I was in touch with them because the private equity firm I founded with a business partner used KPMG as our auditors and advisors on deals.”
The trained chartered accountant has worked in both the UK and the USA and has been a corporate finance partner at KPMG and EY. More recently, the native of Leicester, England who was born to an American father and British mother was the CEO of Advantage Capital, a London-based private equity firm.
The Geneva Connection
Bodenham’s latest career incarnation as an author has seen him pen The Geneva Connection and Once A Killer—both of which have positioned him as an acclaimed financial thriller writer and predecessor to the modern Millennial way of looking at a corporate Big Four career.
His past includes the noteworthy benchmark of being the first person to be recruited into a partner level position at a Big Four firm from the private equity industry back in the early nineteen nineties.
“If you contrast that to today, it’s much more prevalent,” Bodenham said recently from his home
on Vancouver Island. “ One of the big changes I’ve seen is it is now quite common to recruit senior managers and even partners who have had careers elsewhere.” He points out this trend is common in areas with technical expertise like corporate finance and tax and that he feels the move is healthy since it prevents the firms from becoming too introspective.
“I think up until about the early nineteen nineties, the firms regarded themselves as closed states that grow their own and promoted from within,” he said. “I think they’ve come to realize like a lot of industries that sometimes you need different perspectives.”
Because Bodenham’s own career has cut such a wide swath, he has some other intriguing perceptions on the modern corporate Big Four landscape and his career in it and touches on his stopover within the USA to illustrate another point about the importance of international experience.
“ In the mid nineteen eighties, I went to Cleveland Ohio with what was Price Waterhouse and the firms saw it as training the leaders of tomorrow with some international experience ,” he said. “ You don’t see as many overseas moves within the Big Four now. You see it in other industries like IT and among the standalone consultants, but the Big Four seem to be quite nationalistic in their practices now.”
Bodenham’s final career insight is his most personal. It deals with the abrupt turn he finally took from a corner office to the more peaceful life of a writer off Canada’s west coast which was inspired by a favorite English teacher who was both an author and British spy.
“He’s the one I remember year in and out and he gave me an interest in reading novels and really sowed the seed,” Bodenham says highlighting how success can be built on the inspiration from those who have come before.