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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

The champion of diversity in the workplace, cheerleader of KPMG's CSR initiatives, a believer in building an inclusive future workforce, an exceptional leader, a great role model and an avid golfer, John B. Veihmeyer is a hot shot in business and financial issues, including ethical leadership, diversity, financial reporting, audit quality, risk, governance, and education. As the Global Chairman of KPMG International, he is making smart choices today steering one of the world's greatest consultancies into the right direction, continuing to support the professionals around the world to utilise their full potential and bring their best in; meeting the rapidly expanding needs of clients. At a time when an average American stays no more than four years in a firm, he never left since he joined KPMG Washington office in 1977. He kept moving through a series of positions of increasing responsibility. With his four decades with KPMG, he puts together exceptional range of skills, outstanding leadership records and unparallel experience. John, who is very passionate about serving clients in the best way possible, is happy that he is often challenged, developing skills and enjoying his career. As he plans his retirement at the end of September 2017, John has put in place a strong foundation for the future Chair to build on.

Growing with KPMG...

After working for a decade with KPMG, John was on-boarded as the partner. He has since then held numerous leadership roles at KPMG US, including as Lead SEC and professional practice partner Mid-Atlantic Area, Partner-in-Charge of Audit in Washington and Baltimore, Washington Area Office Managing Partner. In the last ten years, he was active in the senior management as U.S. Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Americas and the Deputy U.S. Chairman.

Under his leadership at the global level, KPMG continued to strengthen its reputation and had always stayed a step ahead of its competitors on a number of fronts like launching apps to help users access its huge range of reports and to give college students career advice and going green. In his previous roles, John has made significant contribution to KPMG US member firm. In terms of global revenues, his guidance took KPMG from $24.8 billion to $25.4 billion.

Notes from the global leader...

Accepting that disruption is a fact of life for CEOs, this optimistic leader sees every disruption as an opportunity to transform the business model, develop new products and services, and reshape the business so it is more successful than ever before rather than a threat.

A strong believer of diversity and inclusion, John consider them as important as technical expertise and industry knowledge. According to him, an inclusive culture is an environment within which everyone feels they can accomplish anything they want to, in both their careers and their personal lives. He dreams boldly of a time when no one leave KPMG because they feel they can't bring their whole self to work, that there are ceilings in place keeping them from achieving their ambition; or because it's not an environment that's flexible enough to allow them to achieve both their personal and professional goals. The flexible and open policies of KPMG accommodate the changing needs of its talented employees.

As the world becomes more global, he considers talent as the lifeblood of any organisation. Acquiring skills and getting acquainted with different cultures and people is the way forward to be successful and advance rapidly in the global marketplace.

A philanthropist at heart...

John and his wife, Beth are deeply committed to philanthropy. They are the driving force of KPMG's Family for Literacy which fights against childhood literacy. He is co-chair of CEOs against Cancer and is a board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy. He is a Board member of the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) and Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.

CSR initiatives from the leader...

The message that the senior executives of KPMG including the Global Chairman sends out is to be a firm that has a positive impact on the communities they operate in and on the world at large. The personal goal of John is no different.

A responsible and responsive leader, John likes to keep the public on loop on how and why rather than what businesses are doing. He feels this would make the businesses to consider the long-term impacts of their choices.

The efforts to build women leaders...

John is a Board member of Catalyst Women On Board, through which he mentors and champions senior executive women in their approach to attaining corporate board appointments for two years.

John, who has five sisters and two daughters, is well aware of the career challenges the women faces. He is an acclaimed leader who is known to do everything he can to support a happy work environment at KPMG. He finds it a strategic business approach to create a work environment where women can thrive and is always in the forefront in implementing initiatives that support, advance, retain and reward them. He intentionally encourages high performing women to become exceptional female leaders. As the world applauds his contributions towards thinning the women’s leadership gap and building more women leaders, John feels inclusion of more women in senior management is not just a woman's issue, but a smart and strategic business approach.

Personal life...

When not at work, he loves to do community involvement, golf, vacationing at the beach, and Notre Dame Sports. He also enjoys interacting with college students through speaking engagements and campus recruiting and also speaking with KPMG’s younger professionals young. His advice for the young graduates is not to be afraid to make mistakes and not to stop learning.

He occasionally pens down his thoughts for various magazines on topics which are close to his heart like childhood illiteracy, diversity and inclusion in work space, the prevalent threats in today's Internet-centric global economy, corporate agility etc.

On asked about his hero in an interview, John fondly remembers his dad. John spent his summer holidays working for the small business his father owned. The most important lesson he learned from the words and actions of his dad is to treat everyone you interact with, with respect irrespective of his position. Another valuable life lesson from his dad was to maintain the personal integrity. Personal integrity as a critical success factor for an individual is also something which he emphasises and passes along in all his speaking engagements with the young professionals today. He also remembers his mentors who took him under their wing and invested their time to point in the right direction which helped him develop much quicker than he would have otherwise.

He is married with three children and lives in Maryland.

Education...

When a mentor advised John B. Veihmeyer that accounting was the toughest major in the business area, he instantly jumped in. He graduated with a BBA in accounting from the University of Notre Dame in 1977.

Awards and recognitions...

Named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Accounting by Accounting Today from 2009 to 2012
Named as one of the Top 100 Most Influential People in Corporate Governance by Directorship.
Honored as "Responsible CEO of the Year" by Corporate Responsibility Magazine in 2013
CEO Leadership Award from Diversity Best Practices in 2011

Memberships and associations...

Member of the Business Roundtable, the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum
Member of the Mendoza College Business Advisory Council of the University of Notre Dame
Member of the British American Business International Advisory Board
Member of the board of the US-India Business Council, the Board of Trustees for both the US Council for International Business (USIBC) and the Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), and the Executive Committee of the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF).

Quotes

Don’t try to orchestrate every step of your career path. Just do every job as well as you possibly can.
Be honest and respectful with everyone you interact with, and making them feel valued at that moment.
If you aren’t passionate about this (diversity in workplace), then you can’t be in your leadership role. We won’t grow as fast, be as profitable, have the best latent and achieve all of our objectives without inclusion.
People's perceptions of you are formed not just by the big things you do, but also the little things. It was always important to me that people walk away from our conversations knowing that I listened, cared and was honest.
It's not the earth-shattering, big ethical decisions [that make the biggest difference]. It's the little things you do eight times a day that I think define your reputation as an individual and how trustworthy you are.

Hope readers caught up the spark …

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