KPMG SA picks outsider as CEO after scandals

KPMG’s South African unit named an outsider Ignatius Sehoole as its chief executive on Wednesday.

KPMG's Johannesburg offices. Picture:

JOHANNESBURG – KPMG’s South African unit named an outsider, Ignatius Sehoole, as chief executive on Wednesday, as the auditing firm scrabbles to retain clients after being ensnared in political scandals.

Sehoole, the current deputy chief executive PwC’s domestic unit, will take over from the Nhlamulo Dlomu, who is stepping aside a year after being brought in to restore the company’s reputation. Sehoole is expected to start in May.

“While KPMG South Africa has changed substantially over the past year, the challenges facing both KPMG and the profession have intensified,” chairman Wiseman Nkuhlu said in a statement.

“With this in mind, the board felt it was important to appoint an external candidate to the firm with strong industry credentials,” he said.

KPMG has been losing clients in the last 18 months after its own internal probe found flaws in the work carried out for the Gupta family, which is alleged to have used their links to former president Jacob Zuma to amass wealth.

The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

KPMG South Africa has previously said it was not involved in and did not condone any alleged money laundering activities linked to the Gupta-owned Linkway Trading company.

The company’s woes deepened after it was revealed in April that its auditor failed to disclose loans from a failed small bank he was auditing, prompting some its biggest clients such as Absa and the government to ditch it.

KPMG South Africa has said it is cooperating with authorities and addressing its shortcomings.