KPMG SA CEO to be replaced, a year after sweeping leadership changes

KPMG SA Chief Executive Nhlamulo Dlomu will be taking on a new global role at the auditor which will focus on organisational culture change and ethical leadership.

The company issued a statement on Wednesday morning, indicating that Dlomu will be working with KPMG Global chairperson Bill Thomas, and the global management team.

"Given the scale of the reputational challenges facing both KPMG and the industry, the board has decided that a new chief executive from outside the firm, with strong industry experience, will optimise prospects of rebuilding trust," the statement read.

While the search for a new CEO is already “well advanced”  in the interim Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu will serve as executive chairman.

Dlomu took over from Trevor Hoole in October 2017, after he and several others in management stepped down following KPMG's announcement that the conclusions of its report on the so-called rogue unit  could not be relied upon - it suggested that former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan knew or ought to have known about the rogue unit.

KPMG suffered a mass exodus of clients, which include the Auditor General of South Africa, Wits University, ABSA bank, financial service provider Sasfin and reinsurer Munch Re and clothing retailer Foschini, among others.

Bloomberg recently reported that the more clients and staff have been leaving the auditor, indicating that KPMG is struggling to restore confidence and trust.

However in his remarks, Professor Nkhulu said that Dlomu has made an "exceptional contribution" to rebuild the South African company over the past year. "She displayed courage, integrity and sound judgment at a time of great challenge...I know that KPMG International will benefit tremendously from her considerable personal and professional skills."

Nkhulu added that although Dlomu took steps to improve the firm, more work needs to be done. "The challenges facing our industry have grown and we are  focused on appointing a candidate who will help further restore confidence in KPMG in this changed  environment," he said. 

Dlomu said it had been a "huge privilege" to lead KPMG over the past year. "Although it has been challenging, we have managed to stabilise the business. This would not have been achieved without the loyalty of our clients, the commitment of KPMG partners and staff, as well as the invaluable input of the business community, civil society and the larger South African public," she said.

"I look forward to sharing the South African experience with the global body of KPMG, and I’m pleased to be able to continue to support the firm during the transition."

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