KPMG's Lower Gulf partners appoint Emilio Pera as new CEO

18 November 2022 3 min. read
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The Lower Gulf business of KPMG has appointed a new Chief Executive, following a period of turmoil at the helm of the organisation. Newly installed Emilio Pera will oversee a team of around 1,800 staff across the UAE and Oman.

Following months of executive and partner-level unrest, current Chairman and Chief Executive Nader Haffar in October informed KPMG’s 60+ partners in the region that he would step down from his role to ensure “KPMG can move on to its next phase of growth.”

Having led KPMG Lower Gulf through strong growth during his 5-year tenure, recent revelations by the Financial Times had put pressure on KPMG’s top leadership to re-run its Chief Executive election process, and in its slipstream review the governance around its most senior ranks.

Emilio Pera (left) and Nader Haffar (right)

Early this year, KPMG re-appointed Nader Haffar as chair and chief executive, but following the governance review, the firm announced it would re-run the process under guidance of an Independent Governance Committee and an external law firm [Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer]. Haffar decided not to run for the process, with a partner voting process culminating into the election of Audit and Financial Services partner Emilio Pera.

“I am honoured to have been elected to the post of Chief Executive and I am thankful to my colleagues for the trust they have placed in me. I will be working closely with my fellow Partners and KPMG International to continue our journey of growth in this new chapter. The future is bright, and I have no doubt that we at KPMG will continue to always inspire confidence and empower change,” said Pera.

An executive with over 30 years of professional services and business experience, Pera spent most of his career in South Africa before he relocated to Dubai in 2016 to join KPMG from rival EY (where he spent 15 years). The move marked his return to KPMG – Pera kickstarted his career at the group as an auditor in its Johannesburg office.

In between his professional services spells, Pera served two banks – UBS and Standard Bank – and automotive giant BMW in its financing team.

At KPMG in the Lower Gulf, Pera has been credited for steering the firm’s Audit department through its largest transformation in history. “He turned the audit practice around in a relatively short period, navigating some of the toughest times in the industry with added pressure of a global pandemic with related economic challenges. He was instrumental in scaling the business to align with current market trends and improve profitability,” stated KPMG.

“Emilio is a highly respected KPMG professional, and I am confident that his leadership will enable KPMG Lower Gulf to continue its record of strong performance and growth,” said departing CEO Haffer, who will remain in office until 31 December 2022 to ensure continuity for the firm’s 3,400 clients, staff and support a smooth transition period.

Looking ahead, Pera said the future is bright. “With our significant investments in our people, infrastructure and technology our highly skilled team of experts are well-prepared to meet the region’s increasing need for high quality services. We will continue to strive towards being the most trusted and trustworthy firm of choice for our clients.”

KPMG Lower Gulf was established in 1973. The firm’s advisory business was earlier this year recognised by as one of the region’s leading consulting firms.