KPMG: up in the heir

John Griffith-Jones was all set to emerge from the shadow of his boss to
become the new KPMG senior partner. But then came last week’s shock news that
there were other contenders to fill the role, with an announcement due before

Last summer, the London Evening Standard described John Griffith-Jones as the
‘shoo-in’ for the role to replace Mike Rake, and it was a widely accepted view
that he was the only candidate for the job.

The situation doesn’t quite mirror that of prime minister-in-waiting Gordon
Brown, who has been seen as the only realistic successor to Tony Blair for
nearly a decade now. But having served as the company CEO for the last
three-and-a-half years, Griffith-Jones could have been forgiven for thinking he
must be the strong favourite for the job.

With Rake predicting that KPMG will usurp Deloitte as the second biggest firm
in the accounting premier league, confidence is high at the Big Four player and
Griffith-Jones must be able to claim some of the credit for the success.

KPMG figures back up that confidence as well. Last year, it reported 20% fee
income growth, making it the fastest expanding Big Four firm.

This buoyancy is reflected in a video message Griffith-Jones recorded for the
KPMG website, in which he talks about KPMG becoming the ‘stand-out best’ in the
Big Four, asserting that the ‘building blocks’ are in place.

Rake is set to stay as the biggest KPMG name in the accounting world as the
newly re-elected global chairman, who will serve in that position for another
three years.

But Griffith-Jones’ profile is growing stronger, especially after being
recently named for the first time in the new edition of Who’s Who.

Maybe the career of the former Royal Green Jacket is on the verge of being
fired into the accounting world stratosphere.

Competition not withstanding, Griffith-Jones is surely set to fill Rake’s
shoes. Anything less would be seen as a major snub to the man who enjoys a good
battle on the tennis court, but may not relish coming off second best in this
particular match.

The decision lies in the hands of KPMG’s 560 partners who will cast their
votes in the next few weeks to determine their new leader.

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