KPMG celebrated its 150th year anniversary last week with a virtual visit from Her Majesty The Queen.
The Queen was welcomed by Bill Michael, KPMG’s UK Chair, via video call from the firm’s new Ignition Centre, a 28,000 square foot technology innovation, insights and collaboration hub, based in KPMG’s Canary Wharf headquarters.
Her Majesty’s virtual visit marked 150 years since KPMG’s foundation in 1870, when the firm’s namesake, Sir William Barclay Peat, joined the business and 10 years since Her Majesty opened the firm’s UK headquarters in Canary Wharf.
At the start of the visit, The Queen was shown a video of KPMG’s history, which included the story of its founder’s determination to increase diversity in the accountancy profession. In 1924 William Barclay Peat hired Ethel Watts, the first woman to qualify as an accountant by examination to the ICAEW. The firm’s focus on improving diversity in professional services remains at its core and today 55% of its UK board members are women and 27.3% are from an ethnic minority background.
Bill Michael, Senior Partner and Chair of KPMG UK said: “It was a unique honour to host and welcome The Queen for a virtual visit and to give a sense of the firm today, the extraordinary people who work here and how we’re supporting clients and communities across the UK as they respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I’m really proud that we’ve been able to help our clients achieve their growth ambitions and invest in our people and communities for the last century and a half. This year has been an extraordinary year for businesses and society alike. As we look ahead, our firm has a crucial role to play to help support the country’s economic recovery and help businesses to build back better.”
During the visit The Queen was introduced to colleagues from across the business, including Jennifer Lee, head of KPMG’s Liverpool office. From this position, Jennifer has spearheaded the firm’s support for businesses in Liverpool and Merseyside during the pandemic, convening a ‘Leaders’ Circle’ of 30 business leaders to talk about the city’s response. Growing up in Kensington in Merseyside, one of the most socially disadvantaged communities in the UK, Jennifer is passionate about social mobility and plays a significant role in the local community raising aspirations and supporting community efforts.
Her Majesty also spoke to John McCalla-Leacy, Partner at KPMG, who works with some of the firm’s biggest global clients, advising them on mergers and acquisitions. John made history this year when he was elected as KPMG UK’s first black Board member and has spearheaded the firm’s work to improve inclusion and diversity and support black heritage colleagues. As a young athlete John benefitted from support provided by The Prince’s Trust and continued on to become an international white-water canoe slalom athlete British Team coach and elite coach in the London Olympics.
Notes to Editors:
A history of KPMG, our work with clients and our role in WW1 and WW2 can be read here.
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