SINGAPORE (Dec 4): Mark Weinberger, the global chairman and chief executive of Big Four accounting firm EY, is stepping down in the middle of next year.

EY will begin the search to replace Weinberger — who was elected global chairman of EY in 2013 — at the start of 2019.

Under his tenure, global revenues at EY hit an all-time high in the latest financial year of US$35 billion ($47.8 billion).

Weinberger’s resignation comes at a critical time for the audit market, which has come under intense scrutiny in the UK, South Africa and the Netherlands over the past 18 months.

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In September, Weinberger dismissed calls to break up the Big Four accounting firms --the three others being Deloitte, PwC and KPMG -- in response to mounting criticism of the severe lack of competition in the audit market.