The global BDO organisation is governed by the Council, the Global Board and the Executive of BDO International Limited.

BDO Council

The Council comprises one representative, from each voting BDO Member Firm – generally the managing partner – and represents the members of BDO International Limited in general meeting. In 2017 there were 115 Council members. The Council is chaired by the Council Chairman, elected among the existing Council members by the Council upon nomination by the Global Board. The current Council Chairman is Werner Schiesser, managing partner of BDO in Switzerland.

The Council approves BDO’s global budget, appoints the Global Board and approves any changes to the Articles of Association and the Regulations of BDO International Limited. The Council meets at least once a year during BDO’s leadership conference – and more if the Council Chairman and/or the Secretary of BDO International Limited consider this necessary or appropriate, or upon request of a certain number of Council members.

Global Board

The Global Board is the Board of Directors of BDO International Limited. It comprises the managing partners of at least the three largest firms of the EMEA region, the two largest firms of the Americas region and the two largest firms of the Asia Pacific region. The (re)appointment of the Global Board members, each for a three year term, is approved by the Council. The table on the right sets out the present composition of the Global Board, which is currently chaired by Wayne Berson, managing partner of BDO in the USA. The Global Board Chairman is elected by the Global Board members and serves for a period of three years.

The Global Board sets policies and priorities for the global organisation and oversees the work of the Executive. The Global Board meets at least four times a year, and more if required.


The Executive comprises the CEO, who is appointed by the Global Board, and members of the Global Leadership Team (GLT) appointed by the CEO.

Keith Farlinger, was appointed as global CEO on 1 November 2017. Previously, Keith was CEO Americas, and prior to that he was managing partner of BDO in Canada. The CEO’s powers and responsibilities are set out in the Regulations and as further determined by the Global Board. The CEO is tasked with the day-to-day management of the affairs of BDO globally, as well as the development and implementation of the global strategy for the organisation. He recommends quality standards, policies and strategies to the Global Board. The CEO also acts as spokesperson for BDO at international forums and organisations and represents the global organisation in discussions with international regulatory bodies.

In October 2017, the new role of Chief Operating Officer (COO) was created, and Anders Heede was appointed to fulfil it. Working closely with the CEO, the overarching responsibilities of the COO are to ensure that the global BDO organisation is equipped to meet the challenges of today and is prepared for the future. Having joined BDO in Denmark as CEO in 2008, Anders has held global roles since 2011, including that of CEO EMEA: he currently fulfils the role of Global Head of Advisory & BSO as well.

Effective 1 November 2017, Martin van Roekel, the previous CEO, was appointed as Vice-Chairman of BDO.

The members of the Global Leadership Team (GLT) are appointed by the CEO, who allocates and delegates responsibilities to them as he deems appropriate. The GLT comprises the regional CEOs, the Global Heads of service lines and of support services, as well as the Secretary of BDO International Limited. The majority of the members of the GLT are full time dedicated to their role within BDO International Limited.

The CEO and the GLT are supported by the Global Office of Brussels Worldwide Services BVBA, a limited liability company incorporated in Belgium, which coordinates the service provision within BDO.

The Global Office includes the following departments: Global IT, Global Audit & Assurance, Global Tax, Global Quality & Risk Management, Global Business Development & Marketing, Global HR & Development, Regulatory & Public Policy Affairs, Global Events, Global Knowledge Management, EU Key Account Procurement, Accounting, Administration and Legal.

Regional structure

To facilitate the communication and coordination of actions and the sharing of best practice, BDO is divided into three regions: EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa), Asia Pacific and Americas (Latin America, North America and Caribbean), each supported by a regional board.

Each region has its own Regional CEO, who chairs the respective Regional Board and provides support and guidance regarding the strategic initiatives of firms in the region.

In addition, regional audit advisers (RAAS) and regional heads of tax assist our firms in improving the quality of their A&A and Tax practices in order to enable the delivery of high quality services to BDO clients.

Global committees

Within BDO there are a number of global committees, composed of professionals from our firms, who report to the respective member of the GLT and the CEO. These committees, which act in an advisory capacity for the benefit of BDO firms, are further supported by a number of sub-committees, task forces and working groups.

The primary global committees at 1 April 2018 are as follows: