Holt to head KPMG’s UK arm ahead of Carillion probe outcome

FILE PHOTO: The KPMG logo is seen at their offices at Canary Wharf financial district in London

LONDON (Reuters) – Global accountants KPMG said on Monday that Jon Holt has been elected by partners to head its 2.3 billion pound ($3.17 billion) UK arm, which faces a potential fine and major industry reform.

Holt, head of audit since 2019, takes up the CEO job immediately until September 2025, replacing Bill Michael, who resigned after reports that he told partners to “stop moaning” about the impact of COVID-19 on their lives.

“Now is the time to challenge ways of working and use what we’ve learnt during the pandemic to really drive positive action,” Holt said in a statement.

Michael had also been UK chair, a role that has since been split off and filled by Bina Mehta.

The Financial Reporting Council, which regulates accountants, delivered a second report to KPMG in February on its investigation into how KPMG audited Carillion, the UK builder whose collapse has led to radical proposals to reform auditing.

It indicates the regulator has found breaches of auditing standards and is giving KPMG time to respond before it makes a final decision on whether to pursue enforcement action and financial penalties.

Any fine would likely be one of the FRC’s largest ever.

Holt will also help KPMG navigate changes into how the UK audit market operates by running audit as a separate unit from consultancy, and potentially sharing audits with smaller rivals to boost competition.

(Reporting by Huw Jones and Kanishka Singh, editing by Chizu Nomiyama)