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KPMG’s Doughtie Won’t Seek Re-Election, CEO Search Begins (1)

Aug. 25, 2019, 3:56 PMUpdated: Aug. 25, 2019, 4:52 PM

KPMG’s chairman and CEO will not seek a second term leading the Big Four accounting firm, setting up a search for her successor, the firm confirmed to Bloomberg Tax.

Lynne Doughtie, 56, became the first woman to lead the U.S. firm when she was elected in 2015. Her current term is set to wrap up in June 2020.

“Lynne will work with the Board on succession and she is committed to a smooth transition after her successor is elected. We appreciate Lynne’s leadership that has driven positive outcomes for the Firm in quality, culture, inclusion & diversity, innovation and growth,” a statement from a KPMG spokesman said.

Under her leadership, the global network’s U.S. member firm invested $450 million to build a training and development center in Orlando and made other investments in technology development and the use of digital analytics and robotics process automation. She has used her chairman’s platform to champion the advancement of women within the firm and among the broader business community.

Overall, revenue for the firm grew under her leadership from $7.9 billion in fiscal year 2015 to $9.5 billion in fiscal year 2018—the most recent figures available.

But her tenure was also marred by scandal that bruised the firm’s reputation and exposed its struggles to comply with U.S. audit standards. A group of KPMG partners and other employees were criminally charged in 2018 with trying to circumvent the U.S. audit regulator’s inspection process.

One of those employees has been sentenced to eight months in prison and the criminal cases against four other former staff members—including the former national managing partner for audit quality—continue this fall.

In a $50 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission in June, KPMG acknowledged that former staff members conspired to cheat on the firm’s annual regulatory inspection.

KPMG has also replaced four leaders at the top of the audit practice, added two independent directors to the firm’s governing board, and clarified the audit quality responsibilities for partners and for the CEO.

Doughtie, a Richmond, Va., native, joined the firm’s audit practice in 1985 and later served as vice chair for the firm’s U.S. and Americas consulting practice prior to her appointment as chairman.

(Adds details on KPMG's regulatory issues after being charged with cheating in audits.)

To contact the reporters on this story: Amanda Iacone in Washington at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeff Harrington at