Rush for top job at KPMG

 
David Hellier
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KPMG, the audit and consulting group, is gearing up for a widely contested battle to succeed John Griffith-Jones as chairman of the firm’s UK unit.

Sources have said that the race to replace Griffith-Jones, who is due to step down in September, has attracted up to as many as ten candidates with no obvious front-runner at this stage.

“In the past the succession procedure has been very much like a coronation,” said one source. “This time around there’s a view within the firm that the process will be much more open.”

Sources have told City A.M. that they expect Richard Bennison, Oliver Tant and Alan Buckle to have thrown their hats into the ring for what will be a very different succession process to the one when Griffith-Jones took over from then chairman Michael Rake. Then the successful candidate was widely seen as the out and out front-runner from the beginning and he was very much endorsed by Rake.

KPMG is hopeful the field will have narrowed considerably by April at the latest. Bennison, Tant and Buckle are all in their late 40s or early 50s and there are some at the firm who would like the group to choose somebody slightly younger in an effort to signify a more radical change.

Tant, who is head of UK audit, has also had experience in the group’s private equity practice and was involved publicly in promoting the hiring of school leavers. Ashley Steel is also said to have shown interest.