KPMG promotes energy industry diversity with female global leadership team

03 July 2018

KPMG has zoomed in on the importance of industry diversity at the firm’s recent global energy conference, demonstrating leadership from the front with an all-female global leadership team for its Energy and Natural Resources division.

Bringing together nearly 500 senior executives from the energy industry, KPMG’s 16th global energy conference has this year stressed the importance of leadership diversity for the challenged and evolving sector, with KPMG highlighting its own commitments on diversity with female appointees heading each region of its global Energy and Natural Resources practice.

The findings from a veritable flood of recent analysis shouldn’t need repeating (but); beyond the social imperative, the business case for greater gender diversity in leadership is clear cut. Companies with a more diverse leadership profile perform better. One factor given for improved performance is women being key drivers of innovation.

Given the current challenges to the energy sector, progress on diversity then is vital. Beyond just business, but for the future of the global economy. The sector, however, undergoing massive transformations, is one of the most male-dominated and slowest moving on diversity. This is especially so for the Middle East (and Africa), which according to EY’s Women in Power & Utilities Index for 2016 had just 8% of its senior management roles held by woman.

KPMG – ranked 8th on DiversityInc’s 2018 global index of the top 50 companies for diversity – has long led from the front on women’s empowerment across all sectors, and in 2016 appointed Regina Mayor as Global Head of its Energy and Natural Resources (ENR) division. Mayor is joined by Mina Sekiguchi as Head of ENR for the Asia Pacific, Angela Gildea as Head of ENR for KPMG in the Americas, and Valérie Besson, who heads up the EMA region including Europe, Africa and the Middle East.KPMG promotes energy industry diversity with female global leadership teamFurther addressed at the conference, under this year’s theme ‘Powering the future with next generation of energy’, was the subject of talent management more broadly, with a focus on the shifting expectations of a millennial workforce, along with the role of current and future technologies such as digitisation and robotic process automation in the energy industry. Gopal Balasubramaniam, Head of ENR for KPMG in the Middle East and South Asia (a sub-division of the EMA region) commented on the evolving employee mentality in the energy sector;

“Within the ENR industry, millennials will be looking for different things from their careers than the outgoing 20th century workforce, with job satisfaction, environmental credentials, accelerated career progression and the need to be constantly challenged becoming increasingly important. Oil and gas firms must invest in understanding how they can meet these needs, to ensure that they are able to recruit and retain new talent, which will be essential for the business’ survival.”

Balasubramaniam, a Partner with KPMG’s Qatar office (which in a single office structure includes Jeyapriya Partiban, Head of Risk Consulting for Bahrain among its partnership ranks as the first female Partner appointed for KPMG in Bahrain and Qatar), concludes overall; “The world’s social and economic environments are continually evolving, and it is certain that the mindset and expectations of those who will lead the world’s businesses and governments in the future will similarly change.”

KPMG in Bahrain recently supported the Kingdom’s first Women Power Summit as a consulting sponsor, with the event attracting more than 700 attendees across its schedule of seminars, workshops, and panel discussions on female entrepreneurial empowerment in the MENA region. 


ACCA hosts UAE women in finance forum with Deloitte advocates

18 March 2019

Senior finance leaders from across the UAE have assembled for a meeting hosted by the ACCA on developing a collective vision to increase the ratio of women in finance and technology, with Deloitte’s newly elected global chair Sharon Thorne delivering a keynote address.

In an effort to address the ongoing gender gap in the finance and technology sector, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) – one of the world’s largest professional accounting bodies with more than 200,000 members worldwide – has brought together more than 50 senior finance leaders from across the UAE to promote a shared vision in pushing for greater inclusion.

Among others, those assembled heard keynotes from Anthony Hobeika, the CEO of local research and consulting firm MENA Research Partners, as well as Deloitte Middle East Consulting CEO Tim Parr, and Deloitte’s long-time diversity advocate and newly elected global chair Sharon Thorne, who when she takes over in June will become the first woman in the firm’s history to hold the position.

Also present was noted Deloitte diversity champion, Rana Ghandour Salhab, and Cynthia Corby, Deloitte Middle East Audit Director of Operations and Chair of the UAE Women in Finance Forum, who was last year named by Forbes as one of the 100 most influential women in the Middle East. “In the UAE and wider Middle East, we have seen a higher percentage of women going through the education cycle, however when we look at this transition into the workplace, we don’t see a reflective rate,” Corby said.ACCA hosts women in finance forum in UAE with leading Deloitte advocatesAccording to an ACCA report released prior to the event, women account for only 17 percent of all executive finance roles in the UAE, and hold just 2 percent of board-level positions across the GCC. Corby continues; “Business leaders need to ensure this talent is not lost, in order to truly lead diverse organisations which go beyond the numbers. Promotion of sustainable practices that encourages people of all cultures and ages to participate in all opportunities which are provided to those who demonstrate the ambition, drive, ability and dedication are paramount, so they can share their different perspectives and challenge our thinking and we can all thrive in our professional lives.”

As highlighted by the ACCA, the Women in Finance Forum coincides with the 100th anniversary of Ethel Ayres Purdie’s election as an associate to the London Association of Accountants, a founding organisation of ACCA – the first woman to be admitted to the membership of a professional accounting body. For the ACCA’s part, nearly half of the organisation’s members are now women, along with 55 percent of its senior staff and an even share of its executive.

“ACCA was established specifically to open up the profession to people of all backgrounds, based solely on their ability, said Helen Brand, ACCA’s chief executive. “We believe that it’s every organisation’s responsibility to support diversity and to review and revise the way they support and open up opportunities to women – and indeed all other under-represented groups. Opportunity and diversity are two of our core values that continue to guide our work today.”

In terms of developing a shared vision to tackle gender imbalance in the financial services industry, Corby believes now is perfect time to act. “With the changing role of finance and increased emphasis on technology, it presents an opportune time to drive a collective vision, which with the use of algorithms, blockchain and innovative tech can support in reducing biased decision making in the recruitment and progression processes within organisations.”

Related: Deloitte's Rana Ghandour Salhab named champion of diversity on global list.