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KPMG Taps Knopp to Lead U.S. Firm, Succeed Doughtie (2)

March 3, 2020, 8:45 PMUpdated: March 3, 2020, 11:38 PM

KPMG LLP has elected Paul Knopp, an accountant with years of experience working with multinational audit clients, as the firm’s next U.S. chairman and CEO, the firm announced Tuesday.

Knopp, 60, succeeds outgoing Chairman Lynne Doughtie, who announced in August that she wouldn’t seek another term. Knopp’s five-year term is set to begin in July.

KPMG partners also chose Laura Newinski, 54, as the firm’s next deputy chair, succeeding P. Scott Ozanus, who intends to retire later this year. Newinski previously was national managing partner of the firm’s U.S. tax practice and currently is vice chair of operations.

Doughtie has steered the firm as it grappled with a plot by top audit leaders to cheat on the firm’s annual regulatory inspection, and that led to a $50 million settlement with the SEC. In response, the firm overhauled the audit practice leadership, added independent directors to its board, and has placed a renewed focus on the firm’s culture and values.

“Paul and Laura are excellent leaders who live our values and have the experience and expertise to drive our firm forward, instill trust with stakeholders, and strengthen our culture. They are absolutely the right leaders at the right time for our firm and our future,” Doughtie said in a statement.

Knopp previously served on the firm’s governing board, including as lead director. He most recently was a senior audit partner tasked with running what the firm described as its “most complex global audit engagements.” Over his career, he has focused on working with multinational companies spanning manufacturing, life sciences, transportation, and technology industries.

Public Company Accounting Oversight Board records show Knopp was the engagement partner on audits for Emerson Electric Co. and Pfizer Inc. in recent years.

Knopp said he looked forward to writing the next chapter for the firm and its clients. “We have a tremendous opportunity to bring value to our various stakeholders through our one-firm approach during these transformative times,” he said.

KPMG, like its competitors in the Big Four, has invested heavily in transforming the technology skills of its staff, including a $450 million training campus that opened in January, in order to stay ahead of both the technology and the needs of the companies the firm works with.

(Updates with additional reporting, quotes.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at aiacone@bloombergtax.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at jharrington@bloombergtax.com; Kathy Larsen at klarsen@bloombergtax.com