Thursday 29 April 2021 9:51 am

Interim KPMG CEO quits after being passed over for permanent role

Interim KPMG CEO Mary O’Connor, the first woman to lead the Big Four firm, has quit after she was passed up for the permanent role.

O’Connor took over as chief executive of KPMG UK following the sudden departure of Bill Michael earlier this year, after he made controversial comments about unconscious bias training during a video call with staff, where he also told listeners to “stop moaning” about working conditions during the pandemic.

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O’Connor held the position for two months before Jon Holt was elected new chief executive earlier this month.

KPMG partners were told yesterday that O’Connor had decided to leave, the Financial Times first reported.

O’Connor’s departure takes KPMG UK’s board back to a 50:50 split of men and women, where women had previously outnumbered men – something highly unusual in large firms like KPMG.

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O’Connor joined KPMG in 2018, and was later promoted to head of clients and markets, leading KPMG’s non-audit business.

Prior to that she spent nearly seven years at Willis Towers Watson, and before that more than four years at the Financial Services Authority – now the Financial Conduct Authority.

KPMG has been contacted for comment.