KPMG UK makes historic appointment of female leaders in 150 years

KPMG South Africa
KPMG South Africa

Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler KPMG has made a significant appointment of two female partners, set to run the firm on a temporary basis. The move comes after Bill Michael, who has run KPMG UK since 2017 as chairman and senior partner on Wednesday stepped aside during an investigation into a series of contentious comments, including telling staff to “stop moaning” about work during the pandemic and rubbishing the notion of unconscious bias as “complete crap”, he made at an online meeting with the firms financial services consulting team on Monday.

The firm announced to its 600 partners that pending the investigation of Bill, he would be replaced by two female partners: Mary O’Connor, who will take over Michael’s responsibilities as senior partner, and Bina Mehta, who will assume the chairman role.

Prior to Thursday’s appointment, Mary O’Connor served as the Head of clients and markets for the UK firm. She led the non-audit business which included tax, pensions and legal services, deal advisory and consulting, across financial services, corporates and national markets. She has served on the KPMG board, executive board and executive leadership team.

A dual-qualified US and UK lawyer, Mary was named one of the intelligent insurer’s ‘100 influential women in Re/insurance’ in 2016 and 2017 and a business insurance 2017 EMEA ‘Woman to watch’.

Bina Mehta has been a partner and member of the UK Board. She has more than 20 years of International M&A and restructuring experience in the UK, USA and Canada acting for private equity houses, lenders and corporates. Bina has been a client lead partner, working with leading names in the business services sector, large private and listed international clients, and manages some of the firm’s key strategic relationships.

She is a member of the council for investing in Female Entrepreneurs which is co-sponsored by HM Treasury and BEIS and an Honorary Fellow in Entrepreneurship at Cambridge Judge Business School.

It is the first time in KPMG’s 150-year history that either role has been held by a woman. The firm is also poised to tell staff that it will overhaul its unpopular performance rating system whereby employees are ranked according to a “forced distribution curve”.

(With input from Agencies)


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