KPMG International has selected John B. Veihmeyer, the chairman and CEO of KPMG’s U.S. firm, as global chairman, succeeding Michael Andrew, who is retiring due to what has been described as a “serious medical condition.”

The firm said that Andrew was recently diagnosed with the unspecified condition and plans to focus on his treatment and recovery while continuing his work as co-chair of the Australian B20 Working Group on Anti-Corruption. Andrew, who hails from Australia, has been global chairman since 2011 and has been running the firm from Hong Kong. However, he plans to continue his role as co-chair of the Australian B20 Working Group on Anti-Corruption, which brings together business leaders from the G20 economies and advises them on the views of more than 6.5 million small, medium and large companies.  Australia is the current holder of the G20 Presidency.

Veihmeyer is based in New York where the U.S. firm traditionally has been headquartered. He is expected to continue his role as chairman and CEO of the U.S. firm while also taking on the role of global chairman. He received the unanimous support of the KPMG board and his selection is expected to be ratified at the March meeting of senior partners from KPMG’s network of firms around the world.  Veihmeyer will continue to be based in New York City. 

“I congratulate John on being selected as the next KPMG Global Chairman,” Andrew said in a statement. “He is an outstanding leader, a good friend and has already made a significant contribution to KPMG in his leadership of the U.S. member firm. He is the ideal person to lead our network into this next important phase of our growth.”

Veihmeyer has served as chairman and CEO of KPMG’s firm in the U.S., KPMG LLP, since 2010.  He also currently serves as chairman of KPMG’s Americas region, a position from which he will step down upon becoming global chairman.  He is a member of KPMG’s global executive team, and has previously held numerous other leadership roles at KPMG, including as deputy U.S. chairman; managing partner of KPMG’s Washington, D.C. operations; and global head of risk management and regulatory. 

“The opportunity to lead KPMG globally is a privilege and honor, and I look forward to working alongside our incredibly talented professionals from around the world,” said Veihmeyer, who began his career with KPMG.  “My focus will be continuing to strengthen our global reputation for quality and professionalism, as well as our status as one of the world’s great places to work and build a career.”

“On behalf of our board and all our professionals, I want to thank Michael Andrew for the enormous progress made under his leadership,” Veihmeyer added. “Michael’s understanding of the unique opportunities presented by emerging markets, demonstrated by his decision to base his office in Hong Kong, as well as his relentless focus on quality and integrity has helped position KPMG as a leader in an increasingly global and complex marketplace. We are indebted to him, and he has our best wishes as he focuses on his recovery.”

Veihmeyer has focused on the issues of diversity in the work force, education, and the role of ethics and integrity in business leadership.  He has consistently been named one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today, and one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance by Directorship Magazine.  In 2013, Veihmeyer was honored as “Responsible CEO of the Year” by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. 

In 2011, he received the CEO Leadership Award from Diversity Best Practices for his commitment to diversity, and he has also been recognized for his work on KPMG’s Family for Literacy (KFFL), a signature community outreach initiative dedicated to fighting childhood illiteracy.  In its five-year history, KFFL has provided more than 2 million books to children in need and refurbished libraries around the U.S.  Veihmeyer is also a member of the Business Roundtable and the University of Notre Dame Mendoza College Business Advisory Council.  He serves on the Governing Board for the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) and the board of the U.S.-India Business Council.  He is currently Co-Chair of CEOs Against Cancer, and a Board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) and the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF).

Veihmeyer is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, and lives with his wife in Maryland.  He has three grown children.

Ernst & Young chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger responded to news of Michael Andrew's illness and John Veihmeyer's appointment in a statement forwarded to Accounting Today. "In his over 30 years at KPMG, Michael Andrew has been a great asset to KPMG and a leader in our profession," said Weinberger. "I have known him as a friend and colleague in his global leadership role. My thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the people of EY, are with Michael as he focuses on treatment and recovery. We welcome John Veihmeyer into his new role as Global Chairman and wish him and KPMG continued success in serving their clients and the stakeholders of the profession."