Ernst & Young has appointed Kelly Grier as U.S. chairman and managing partner-elect, as well as Americas area managing partner-elect, succeeding Steve Howe, who has run EY’s U.S. firm since 2006.

Kelly Grier of EY
Kelly Grier, EY US chairman and managing partner-elect and EY Americas Area managing partner-elect

Howe will be retiring from the firm at the end of 2018, but he will be succeeded on July 1 by Grier, who is currently regional managing partner for the U.S. Central Region. She will be the third woman to run a Big Four firm, joining the ranks of Deloitte CEO Cathy Engelbert and KPMG chairman and CEO Lynn Doughtie.

“It is an exciting time to lead an innovative, dynamic and fast-paced organization with an unrelenting focus on helping clients solve their toughest challenges and realize their greatest ambitions,” Grier said in a statement. “Under Steve’s leadership, EY in the Americas has incredible momentum in executing its strategy and is posting market-leading results across growth, talent, brand and relationships.” 

Grier grew up in Avon, Minn., and graduated with an accounting degree from Saint Mary’s College of Notre Dame, Ind. She previously served as a member of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship and was recognized by the World Economic Forum as a Young Global Leader. She was also recognized as the Anti-Defamation League’s Woman of Achievement. At EY, she has worked in Germany and Switzerland and was EY Americas vice chair of talent and managing partner of the firm’s Chicago office.

“The Americas is our largest market, and its strong foundation comes from our shared culture and purpose of building a better working world,” said EY global chairman and CEO Mark Weinberger in a statement. “Kelly has demonstrated uncompromised integrity and an ability to manage high-performing teams, while delivering exceptional results for EY clients.”

Howe also praised his successor. “Kelly is an extraordinary leader who has skillfully run one of our largest regions, and brings a depth of experience across client service, the boardroom and our talent function,” he said. “During her 27-year tenure at EY, Kelly has served many top EY clients and is known for driving innovation and growth through exceptional client service.”

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn

Michael Cohn, editor-in-chief of AccountingToday.com, has been covering business and technology for a variety of publications since 1985.