KPMG’s Mary O’Connor quits after being passed over for top UK job

Firm did not give acting boss opportunity to become permanent

The first woman to lead a Big Four accountant in the UK is to leave KPMG after being passed over for appointment as the firm's permanent chief executive.

Mary O’Connor led KPMG UK for two months after Bill Michael stepped down as chair and chief executive following a backlash over comments he made to staff on a video call in February.

However, KPMG's board decided not to give Ms O'Connor the chance to become its chief executive on a permanent basis. In a surprise move, the board put forward Jon Holt, KPMG's head of audit, as the only candidate for the role in a partner vote. He took office after his appointment was approved by partners this month.

Partners at KPMG UK were told on Wednesday that Ms O’Connor will leave the firm, two people with knowledge of the situation said. KPMG confirmed that Ms O’Connor had decided to leave the firm.



Ms O’Connor, who is head of clients and markets at KPMG, said: “I am privileged to have been able to make a significant contribution to rebuilding the trust in our business and to help set it on the path to even greater future growth. However, I have decided that my corporate experience and approach are now best suited to a leadership role outside of the firm.”

Bina Mehta, chair of KPMG UK, said: "Mary has made a significant contribution to KPMG, and we are hugely grateful for the commitment, focus and energy she's brought to the firm." – Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2021