KPMG South Africa appoints new CEO

Ignatius Sehoole, the deputy chief executive of PwC's domestic unit, will be at the helm.

KPMG’s South African unit has named Ignatius Sehoole (pictured) as chief executive, as the auditing firm attempts to retain its clients after being implicated in political scandals.

Ignatius, who is the current deputy chief executive PwC’s domestic unit, is expected to take up the CEO role on May 1, 2019.

He will take over from the Nhlamulo Dlomu, who stepped down in October 2018 to take up a global role at KPMG and to allow a new leader to restore the auditor’s reputation.

KPMG South Africa has cut jobs and lost business over work done for a company owned by the Gupta family, the friends of former president Jacob Zuma who were accused of unduly influencing the award of billions of rand in government contracts.

Ignatius has experience in the accounting profession, having served a successful two-term role from 2000 to 2009 as the executive president of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants.

“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.

“Ignatius will be able to build on the foundations Nhlamu established to restore trust in KPMG. He will also participate in efforts to reposition the profession with clients and the public.”

KPMG has been losing clients in the last 18 months after its own internal probe found flaws in the audit carried out for the Gupta family and their entities including Linkway Trading.  The company was forced to withdraw parts of its report into the South African Revenue Service so called “rogue unit.” KPMG’s woes depend after its lead audit partner failed to disclose loans received from VBS Mutual Bank, a small bank that has been implicated in corruption and was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank.

Commenting on his appointment, Ignatius said: “I am very honoured and look forward to the opportunity to help lead KPMG SA.”

“It is imperative that the profession rises to the challenges it is facing, and it is in the national interest that KPMG be part of the solution. My priority at KPMG will be to continue to restore client confidence and again make KPMG a firm where the best people wish to work. I look forward to the opportunity to accelerate this rehabilitation phase.”

The Guptas and Zuma have denied any wrongdoing.

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.