The legal puppet master Mike Rake
Accounting’s other ‘big four’ of the year
By Barney Jopson, FT.com sitePublished: Dec 20, 2006
The threat of a mishap that could lead to a damages claim, and ultimately destroy the firm, is a nerve-racking worry for many accountants. Mike Rake, head of KPMG International, has long managed to turn any question, whatever the subject, back to this most pressing of preoccupations. In 2006 he has continued to try to persuade governments that new legislation is needed to protect accountants. But he has also begun to walk the talk himself.
Two of KPMG’s national partnerships, in the UK and Germany, have agreed to an unprecedented merger that will help the firm manage its legal risks. And it looks like Mr Rake’s handiwork. He first mooted the idea of combining national businesses, which are currently separate legal entities, when he was head of KPMG UK. In his global role he has been able to make it happen. KPMG says the merger is all about improving the consistency of services for clients. But it also helps to correct a troubling asymmetry: partners in one country have little control over what their brothers and sisters get up to overseas, but if something goes awry they can get caught up if any nasty lawsuit ensues. The merger will align risks with control, and more countries are likely to join the fold.
Sir Michael Rake (Official KPMG Biography)
Chairman, KPMG International
Sir Michael is Chairman of KPMG International, and Senior Partner of KPMG in the U.K. Educated at Wellington College, he is qualified as a U.K. chartered accountant, a Luxembourg Reviseur D’Enterprise and a Belgian Experts-Comptable. Sir Michael joined KPMG in 1972 and ran the Audit practice in Belgium and Luxembourg, before moving to run the Middle East practice for three years. He transferred to London in 1989, joined the U.K. Board in 1991, and was elected U.K. Senior Partner in 1998. Sir Michael became International Chairman in 2002. He is the only non-American Chairman of a major international accounting organization. Sir Michael has led the campaign for a progressive and pragmatic legislative response post-Enron. His agenda for reform includes strong independent regulation, transparency of operation, empowered audit committees, global accounting standards, clear independence and real accountability.
In the U.K., Sir Michael is a member of the Confederation of British Industry President’s Committee and International Advisory Committee. He is also Chairman of Business in the Community, and is on the Board of the Prince of Wales’ International Business Leaders Forum. He is a Vice President of the Royal National Institute for the Blind, and is on the Advisory Board of the Judge Institute at the University of Cambridge. He is closely involved with the Britain in Europe campaign.
Sir Michael has been the driving force behind KPMG in the U.K.’s award winning corporate social responsibility programs, including the groundbreaking KPMG Foundation, which tackles educational and social disadvantage.
Sir Michael and his wife Caroline and their family live in Henley, U.K. He is a keen polo player.