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November 27, 2022

racehorse breeders

Let’s Get to Know KPMG’s New International Chairman, Michael Andrew

Yesterday we learned that new KPMG International Chairman Michael Andrew doesn’t think too highly of second-tier accounting firms. Sure, they might have fancy ad campaigns, or offer Starbucks cards for being tattletales but could they audit a global bank? No. Hell no. Rubes. According to Andrew, those firms are “quite lazy” about investing in their businesses which means you couldn’t trust those audits as far as you could throw them.

But perhaps that wasn’t the best introduction for the man replacing Tim Flynn (who is, frankly, irreplaceable). Luckily, in addition to the FT piece we mentioned yesterday, there was also a much longer profile of MA that will give you a better idea of the man who has to fill T Fly’s shoes.


For starters, being the chair of an international accounting behemoth can be a quite the harried job, it’s important that Drew be afforded the quickest transport possible:

Holding court in a hotel at London’s Heathrow airport, Michael Andrew is boasting about how easy it is to get from his desk to the runway back home in Hong Kong. “I basically walk out of the office and they guarantee me to be sitting on the plane in 45 minutes,” he says.

The new chairman of KPMG International is not trying to rub salt into the wounds of harried air travellers in the UK and US. Rather, the 55-year-old Australian is explaining why he recently became the first head of a major global accounting network to be based in Asia.

And since he is based in Asia, this should put everyone on notice that the House of Klynveld isn’t caught up in the old world thinking of being centered in New York or London like other firms:

The bosses of KPMG’s three bigger rivals – PwC, Deloitte and Ernst & Young – are all based in New York or London: “We are trying to say we are a much more globally balanced firm.”

Okay, so PwC had over $29 billion in revenue. And Deloitte’s results were nothing to sneeze at. Even E&Y managed to put up a decent number. But do their respective Chairmen reside in the eastern hemisphere? I think you know the answer.

But just because he is the new Chairman of one of the largest accounting firms on Earth, you might expect that Drew is caught up in the high-flying lifestyle of a rockstar accountant. Sure, he golfs like the rest of you but that shouldn’t give you the wrong idea about Mike:

Mr Andrew’s hobby of racehorse breeding suggests he is more unbuttoned than the stereotypical accountant, even though three of his horses are called Discretion, Tactfully and Chatham House – the latter a reference to the famously off-the-record UK forum. But Mr Andrews himself is certainly willing to make punchy comments.

That’s right. This means stomping through shit. Bossing stable boys around. Firing trainers when necessary. Clearly, he’ll get down in the mud if he has to.

An accountant betting on Asia [FT]