KPMG adds independents Mike Baird and Jane Hemstritch to board

25 January 2024 3 min. read
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Professional services firm KPMG has added two new independent directors to its Australian board: former NSW premier Mike Baird and ex-Accenture managing director Jane Hemstritch.

While the Big Four has been under intense scrutiny in Australia over governance issues, KPMG was the one local member with independent directors already in place. The fresh appointments however lift that number to three out of twelve, including KPMG’s chairman and CEO.

The national board is KPMG’s key governing body, responsible for overseeing management and conduct of the firm.

KPMG adds independents Mike Baird and Jane Hemstritch to board

Appointed last year to succeed Alison Kitchen, current chair Martin Sheppard explained the move: “Over the past six years, our experience has been that independent board members play an important role in strengthening our governance by imparting external perspectives and challenge – both key to meeting evolving stakeholder expectations.”

Hemstritch, who was last year awarded an AO (alongside fellow Australia Day honouree and later interim PwC CEO Kristin Stubbins), replaces inaugural independent director Martin Dalgleish in February after two three-year terms. KPMG’s other independent director, one time McKinsey & Company consultant Patty Akopiantz, will remain, with Hemstritch and Baird’s appointments increasing the number of independents from two to three.

Most recently the chair of Accenture’s Foundation in Australia, Hemstritch altogether spent two and a half decades at the consulting giant dating back to the early 1980s, since adding board experience at Telstra, Tabcorp, Santos, and the Commonwealth Bank among other high profile positions. Baird meanwhile served for three years as the premier of NSW, with pre- and post-parliamentary roles in the banking sector, along with chairmanship of Cricket Australia.

“I am delighted to welcome Jane and Mike to our Board – both experienced leaders of high standing, each with strong reputations for integrity and values,” Sheppard stated. “Together, the three independent directors will ensure we have contemporary skills around the table to enhance governance and provide the agility required to respond to a rapidly changing environment. All hold a strong belief in the importance of purpose, principles and values-driven leadership.”

Moving to include three independents (the maximum according to the firm’s current partnership agreement) puts KPMG ahead of the recommendations made to PwC in the wake of its government tax leak scandal, as well as the structure set up by its public sector offshoot Scyne (albeit sticking with an in-house chair)

Alongside Sheppard and chief executive Andrew Yates, KPMG Australia’s board includes a further seven members: Brett Mitchell (Enterprise), Kim Lawry (Audit & Assurance), Minh Dao (Tax & Legal), Carmel Mortell (Clients & Markets), Michael Hiller (Consulting), Andrew O'Connor (Deal Advisory & Infrastructure), and Corrina Bertram (Consulting).