Banking specialist to support internal audit, governance and enterprise risk initiatives
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 29, 2012 – PwC US today announced that Walter Smiechewicz has joined the firm’s Risk Assurance practice as a managing director. He will be responsible for driving the internal audit, governance, risk and compliance (GRC) and enterprise risk management (ERM) consulting services for the financial services sector. Based in Los Angeles, he will oversee these services in PwC's Western Region, and will leverage his industry expertise to help companies nationally identify and assess risks and devise cost effective mitigating strategies consistent with their business objectives.
With more than 25 years of internal and external auditing experience, Smiechewicz has spent the majority of his professional services career serving the banking sector, including his most recent post as the Chief Audit Executive and Chief Risk Officer of First Niagara Financial Group. He also spent time as the Chief Consultant for GMI Ratings and five years at Countrywide as Chief Audit Executive and Senior Managing Director of Enterprise Risk Assessment.
“Walter’s past experience at several national banks, coupled with his role as a chief audit and risk executive, has lent him an instinctive feel for what entities in this space are looking for,” said Dean Simone, leader of PwC’s U.S. Risk Assurance practice. “His conceptual thinking and practical solutions have created wide name recognition for him in the field of GRC, ERM and internal audit as an exceptional thought leader who has never taken his hand off the helm of meeting practical business needs through effective implementation. We welcome him to our team.”
PwC’s Risk Assurance practice, comprised of 1,900 professionals, provides companies with significant technical expertise as well as deep industry knowledge across all industries. Skilled team members assist companies on developing risk and compliance programs, audits and creating internal controls processes around business performance issues and IT systems as well as strategy and contingency planning.
Smiechewicz brings significant experience in providing strategic and operational direction and support to internal audit, financial controls groups (Sarbanes-Oxley), regulatory compliance & privacy, and risk management teams. He’s also an expert in creating effective structures for governance, risk, regulatory activities, professional practices, compliance, fraud investigations, quality control, model governance, vendor risk and Risk and Control Self-Assessments (RCSA).
“With the rise in regulation stemming from the recent financial crisis, credit crunch and banking failures, there is a greater need for understanding business risk, strong internal audit and regulatory compliance services, along with independent third party services,” said Smiechewicz. “I’m excited to be joining PwC’s Risk Assurance team at this crucial time, and I look forward to growing the financial services practice in the Western Region.”
Smiechewicz earned his Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Cleveland State University and his Master of Divinity degree in Humanities from Columbia International University. He also received his certificate from the Executive Leadership Program at eCornell. His acknowledged expertise has led to extensive published works and interviews in prominent trade publications including American Banker, Journal of Banking and Finance, FEI’s Magazine, ACFE’s Magazine and Directorship Magazine, among several others. Smiechewicz, a CPA and Certified Risk Professional, devotes his time and talents to several charitable and civic causes where he resides, including the Union Rescue Mission, Girl Scouts board and Gateway Longview’s New York board.
About PwC’s Risk Assurance practice
PwC understands that significant risk is rarely confined to discrete areas within an organization. Rather, most significant risks have a wide-ranging impact across the organization. As a result, PwC's Risk Assurance practice has developed a holistic approach to risk that protects business, facilitates strategic decision making and enhances efficiency. This approach is complemented by the extensive risk and controls technical knowledge and sector-specific experience of its Risk Assurance professionals. The end result is a risk solution tailored to meet the unique needs of clients.
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