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Learn about our founders

While we are known in the global marketplace by our brand name, "Deloitte," our legal entity name — Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu — owes its existence to three leaders in our profession who, from the beginning of their professional careers, recognized the importance of a worldwide practice:

WmWilliam Welch Deloitte
One of the fathers of the accountancy profession
William Welch Deloitte was one of the fathers of the accountancy profession. A grandson of a Count de Loitte, who had fled France during the French Revolution, Deloitte started his career early. At the age of 15 he became an assistant to the Official Assignee at the Bankruptcy Court in the City of London, and there he learned the business. The fledgling accountancy profession grew from its early days in the lucrative business of sorting out the affairs of bankrupts.

In 1845, at the age of 25, Deloitte opened his own office opposite the Bankruptcy Court in Basinghall Street. Three momentous Companies Acts created joint-stock companies, laying the foundation for modern company structures, and Deloitte was in his element. He made his name with the industry of the day — the railways — and in 1849 at the Great Western Railway, amidst a great commotion; he became the first independent auditor ever appointed. He discovered frauds on the Great North Railway, invented a system for railway accounts that protected investors from mismanagement of funds, and was to become the grand old man of the profession.

As president of the newly created Institute of Chartered Accountants, Deloitte found a site for its headquarters in 1888. In 1893 he opened offices in the United States and soonafter started to audit a growing soap and candle business. Over a century later, Procter & Gamble is still a client. In 1952, Deloitte's firm in the United States merged with Haskins & Sells.

GeoGeorge Touche
Reputation for flair, integrity, and expertise
Were it not for the English inability to pronounce Scottish names, the name Touche would never have set its imprint on the accountancy world. When George Touch qualified as an accountant in Edinburgh in 1883 and, like so many, set off south to seek his fortune, there was no "e" on the end of his name. In fact, the end of the name was pronounced in the same way as the Scottish "loch." "With a view to preventing the ordinary mispronunciation of my surname," he later changed it.

Financial disasters in the new and booming investment trust business gave him his business opportunity. His reputation for flair, integrity, and expertise brought him a huge amount of work setting these trusts on the straight and narrow. A similar flair for saving doomed businesses from disaster and restructuring them led to the formation of George A. Touch & Co. in 1899. And in 1900, along with John Niven, the son of his original Edinburgh accounting mentor, he set up the firm of Touch, Niven & Co. in New York.

Offices spread across the United States and Canada and were soon attracting clients like R. H. Macy. In the United Kingdom, General Electric Company was an important client — and still is.

Meanwhile Touche himself took his reputation for probity to the electors, became MP for North Islington in 1910, and was knighted in 1917. He died in 1935.

N Admiral Nobuzo Tohmatsu
Japanese practice owes its origins to Tohmatsu
The Japanese practice of Tohmatsu owes its origins to Admiral Nobuzo Tohmatsu. He worked as a naval attache at the London embassy, where he had the honor of being invited to George V's silver wedding anniversary at Buckingham Palace. He had also been an instructor at the Naval Paymasters Academy. Among his students were many talented people who took an active part in the official and economic worlds after the war.

After Tohmatsu qualified as a certified public accountant at the age of 57 in 1952, he became a partner in a foreign-affiliated accounting firm and a director of a private corporation. In 1967, he became president of the Japanese Institute of CPAs. At this time, the Japanese government wanted to see national audit corporations established, and Tohmatsu asked Iwao Tomita, a former student, to respond to that challenge. Tomita had also earned an MBA at the Wharton School in the United States. Tohmatsu and Tomita had a common sense of purpose and were closely bound by similar experiences in the Navy. Thus, in May of 1968, Tohmatsu & Co. (formerly Tohmatsu Awoki & Co.) was incorporated.

The key to Tohmatsu's growth was the decision to send a substantial number of partners and professional staff overseas to gain experience. From the beginning, this meant the firm was internationally focused, and it is reflected in its long-standing international clients.

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