KPMG names new practice leads as part of 'a new chapter'

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KPMG appointed new leaders in the U.S. of its audit, tax and advisory businesses as the Big Four firm tries to burnish its reputation after a bruising series of scandals.

In addition to the new heads of those practices, the firm also named new leaders in charge of growth & strategy , as well as operations. The new team was formed by U.S. chair and CEO Paul Knopp and deputy chair and COO Laura Newinski, who began five-year terms as top leaders at the firm on July 1.

The leaders of the firm’s three primary businesses are: Carl Carande, who is continuing as vice chair of advisory; Greg Engel, who succeeds Jeffrey LeSage as vice chair of tax; and Scott Flynn, who succeeds Frank Casal as vice chair of audit. In addition, Tandra Jackson has been named vice chair of growth & strategy, and Will Williams is succeeding Newinski as vice chair of operations.

In addition, four key leaders are continuing in their roles on the management team: Darren Burton as vice chair of human resources; Lisa Madden as vice chair of risk management; Tonya Robinson as vice chair and general counsel of legal, regulatory and compliance; and Claudia Saran as vice chair of culture.

“Our management team will harness the talents and capabilities of the entire firm to empower our clients and our people to confidently meet today's challenges and thrive in the future,” said Knopp in a statement. “We will be nimble and agile in our execution, and bold in our thinking. We’re optimistic about our opportunities, and we remain committed to instilling trust with stakeholders."

"As we begin to write a new chapter for our firm, one that is built on integrity, growth and execution, we will differentiate ourselves in the market by the quality of our people and our services, and the strength of our culture and values,” he added.

The firm is trying to burnish its reputation after some high-profile scandals in recent years. Several officials at KPMG and the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board were charged by the SEC in January 2018 in a cheating scandal involving PCAOB inspections of the firm (see story). Members of the firm were also found to have cheated on some of the training tests they were supposed to undergo. The firm agreed to pay $50 million in June 2019 to settle the SEC charges (see story). Last September, David Middendorf, KPMG’s former national managing partner for audit quality and professional practice, was sentenced to a year and a day in federal prison.

KPMG has also run afoul of regulators abroad in auditing scandals in the U.K., the EU and South Africa in recent years involving clients such as Carillion, Foresight 4 PCT, and Bank of New York Mellon.

The U.S. firm hopes to help restore its reputation with the new leadership team. “Each of the leaders Paul and I selected for the management team has a long and proven track record of success,” Newinski said in a statement. “They make up a diverse team that will embrace change, focus intensely on quality and excellence, build strong teams, and live our values every day. They are highly regarded partners who embody the skills, experience and personal attributes that will lead our firm forward.”

KPMG is also working on improving diversity and inclusion at the firm. Last month, Knopp unveiled the firm’s ACCELERATE 2025 strategy to encourage more people from underrepresented groups to choose careers at KPMG and advance to leadership positions within the firm. Carande, Engel, Flynn, and Jackson will working with a task force to develop an action plan.

“We’re living in a moment in time when the dictates of justice couldn’t be more obvious or action more urgent, and when corporate America never has been more aligned on the business imperative,” said Knopp. “ACCELERATE 2025 officially launched on July 1 — the first day of my tenure as chair and CEO of KPMG — to indicate its importance and strategic significance. By 2025, the firm and its leaders will look more like America than we do today because of this important effort.”

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