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KPMG’s first female boss expected to leave

Mary O’Connor: ‘overlooked’

The first woman to head KPMG, one of Britain’s Big Four accountancy firms, is expected to leave the firm after being passed over for the top job.

Mary O’Connor, who ran KPMG for two months after the sudden departure of Bill Michael, is negotiating her exit following the appointment of Jon Holt as the firm’s UK chief executive.

There was a possibility that Mr Holt could persuade Ms O’Connor, 54, to stay in another role, but the prospects appeared unlikely, according to Sky News.

KPMG has 21 offices in Britain and 16,000 partners and staff. The UK business recorded revenues of £2.3 billion last year, a fall of 2% from 2019 on a like-for-like basis.

Ms O’Connor joined the firm as its chief risk officer in 2018 from Willis Towers Watson following a string of accounting scandals.

She was promoted to the role of head of clients and markets – essentially running its entire consulting business – in October last year.

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She was expected to be a strong contender for the chief executive’s job when Mr Michael left in February after causing a furore over comments he made during a staff conference call.

Instead, KPMG announced last month that Mr Holt had been nominated for the top job, bypassing the need for a leadership election.

One KPMG partner said that if Ms O’Connor did leave the firm, the “optics were far from ideal” at a time when it was attempting to address a gender imbalance in its top ranks.

The UK chair’s job will continue to be held by Bina Mehta, the first woman to hold that post.



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