Finance

KPMG’s Mary O’Connor set to leave firm after being passed over for top job

One of KPMG UK’s most senior female partners Mary O’Connor is set to leave the firm after being passed over for the top job.

O’Connor was appointed interim chief executive in February after former chair and chief executive Bill Michael resigned after making widely criticised comments in a video meeting with staff.

The firm’s former head of clients and markets was tipped as a strong contender for the chief executive job in expected partnership elections. However, the firm’s board instead decided to bypass the election process by anointing audit head Jon Holt as the firm’s next leader.

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Holt’s appointment was then ratified by the partnership in a vote this month in which he was the only candidate.

O’Connor is now negotiating her exit from the firm after being snubbed for the leadership, according to Sky News.

KPMG declined to comment. O’Connor was contacted for comment.

When she was appointed as interim chief executive O’Connor became the first woman to run a Big Four firm in the UK.

O’Connor joined KPMG in 2018 as chief risk officer from insurance broker Willis Towers Watson where she was head of client, industry and business development, according to her LinkedIn profile.

READ Bill Michael’s harrowing exit rocked KPMG — here’s what happens next

Last October she was appointed as head of clients and markets for the UK firm. In that role she led the firm’s non-audit business including tax and legal, deal advisory and consulting and sat on KPMG’s board, its executive board and its executive leadership team.

She is a qualified lawyer with stints at US law firm Shearman & Sterling and Magic Circle law firm Clifford Chance under her belt. She has also worked in the public sector in the US attorney’s office in Washington DC and the Financial Services Authority in the UK.

Bina Mehta, who was appointed as the firm’s female chair in February, will continue in her role.

To contact the author of this story with feedback or news, email James Booth

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