KPMG CEO Search Begins, As Doughtie Won’t Seek Re-Election

Lynne Doughtie, chair and CEO of Big 4 firm KPMG, has decided she will not seek re-election when her first, and only, five-year term expires next summer.

“Lynne will work with the board on succession and she is committed to a smooth transition after her successor is elected. We appreciate Lynne’s leadership that has driven positive outcomes for the firm in quality, culture, inclusion and diversity, innovation and growth,” a statement from a KPMG spokesman said, according to Bloomberg Tax.

Doughtie was the second of three women to rise to the top job in the Big 4 when she was elected CEO in 2015. Cathy Engelbert served four years as Deloitte CEO and recently became commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association. Kelly Grier became U.S. chairman and MP at EY in July 2018.

KPMG’s biggest setback during Doughtie’s tenure came in June when it made a $50 million settlement with the SEC over cheating allegations related to the firm’s regulatory inspections under the PCAOB. A group of KPMG partners and other employees were criminally charged in 2018 with trying to circumvent the process. One was sentenced to eight months in prison and the criminal cases against four other former staff members continue this fall.

Bloomberg Tax reported that KPMG has replaced four audit practice leaders, added two independent directors to the firm’s governing board, and clarified the audit quality responsibilities for partners and for the CEO.

She is credited, however, with an 8.3% compounded annual growth rate from 2015 to 2018. Additionally, she made big investments in training and development for staff, and in technology and innovation, Compliance Week reported.

Doughtie began with the firm in 1985 as an auditor and held a number of regional, national and global leadership roles in her time with the firm.

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