KPMG appoints first woman board member

KPMG appoints first woman board member

New senior partner's 18-member board reflects greater openness. Lawrie Holmes reports

Tax partner Ruth Anderson will smash through the glass ceiling in Big Five accountancy when she takes a seat on KPMG’s new 18 member controlling board.

Anderson was appointed by Mike Rake who becomes UK senior partner when the board begins work on 1 October. He appointed six partners, six more were nominated by the UK partnership for the first time and the rest were made up of the UK executive.

Anderson joined the firm in 1976, qualified in 1979 and became a partner in 1989. ‘I have spent time advising clients on how to deal with their business. Now I have the opportunity to decide on how KPMG goes forward.’

She said the new board reflected the difficulties of running a firm of 600 partners. ‘We have got to move to a corporate structure and have a small number of people who have power to make decisions,’ she added.

The new 18-partner board is the youngest in the firm’s history with an average age of 47. Mike Rake said of Anderson’s appointment: ‘My prime concern was to appoint partners who would command widespread respect and provide a balanced perspective. Ruth Anderson fulfills both of these requirements,’ he added. ‘I want the board to reflect the views of the whole partnership, not just the choice of the senior partner.’

Rake said her appointment also reflects a move to greater openness started by Colin Sharman.

Rake confirmed he is still looking to appoint non-executive board members from outside the firm ‘as another future option.’ He said: ‘We cannot comment on the governance of others, without setting the highest example ourselves’.

Anderson added that the firm is also in the process of recruiting people internally for an 18 to 20 member client service board to be ready by 1 October.

Rake’s vision is dependent on the firm moving from a ‘loose federation’ to an integrated partnership. He has also targeted a doubling of market share in tax and tripling in consulting to achieve total fees of #1bn by 2000.

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