Eugene D. O'Kelly, 53, former chairman and chief executive of KPMG, died Sept. 10 at his New York City home at the age of 53.

O'Kelly remained a senior partner at KPMG after disclosing a diagnosis of advanced-stage cancer in June and stepping out of his leadership role at KPMG, which he had helmed since 2002.

"In his final message to all of us at KPMG, Gene shared that leaving his chief executive post was unquestionably one of the most difficult career decisions of his life, but he said that he was also driven to make a choice that was fair both to his family as well as the firm," said KPMG chairman and chief executive Timothy P. Flynn, who succeeded O'Kelly, in a statement.

O'Kelly led KPMG through one of the most challenging periods in the history of the firm, and was recognized for bringing changes in KPMG's structure, culture and governance. One of his first actions involved separating risk management and quality oversight from the firm's business management activity. While it was just last month that KPMG settled a huge case with federal regulators over its sale of allegedly illegal tax shelters, O'Kelly was credited with reaching agreements for the firm on a number of outstanding regulatory and legal matters.

A native New Yorker, O'Kelly joined KPMG in 1972 in San Francisco and was admitted to the partnership in 1982.He is survived by his mother, wife, two daughters and two grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on Sept. 17 at St. James Episcopal Church in Manhattan. A second memorial service will be conducted on the West Coast on Sept. 23 at the Stanford Memorial Church.

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