KPMG UK’s Most Senior Female Partner Quits

Melanie Richards

After 20 years at Big 4 firm KPMG, UK deputy chair Melanie Richards will leave in September following a difficult two years during which the firm worked to recover from a series of audit and conduct scandals, the Financial Times reported.

The London newspaper cited an anonymous source to report that Richards told UK Chair Bill Michael last September that she wants to serve as a non-executive director at a number of companies. UK rules and KPMG policy require a departing auditor to wait two years before joining the board of any listed company that their firm audits.

“Melanie is relentless in her campaigning for equality in the workplace and is an inspirational leader, both within our firm and across UK business as a whole,” Michael says in a statement. “Wherever she chooses to go next, they will be lucky to have her broad array of skills, experience, energy and counsel — which have been invaluable to me as chairman.”

Richards, who joined the firm in 2000, leads KPMG’s efforts to improve its diversity and inclusion and ran its senior women’s network, but she has been criticized for failing to close its gender pay gap of 28% last year.

KPMG has faced a series of setbacks in the last two years over the quality of its audits in the wake of the collapse of UK outsourcing firm Carillion.

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