KPMG's Choice of a Female CEO Only Proves How Far We Have to Go to Achieve True Gender Equality
Here we go again. I'm a little late weighing in on this -- except for a short quip on Twitter -- because, forgive me, I'm just not all up in the accounting news these days now that I've been released from my leash as Managing Editor of Going Concern.
But when I saw this, I just had to say something:
Good for KPMG! A female CEO! @KPMG_US: Lynne Doughtie will be the next Chairman & CEO of KPMG, starting July 1. http://t.co/J07AeVPj9C”Why good for KPMG? Because she has a vagina? Wow, talk about sexist.
— Lisa Myers (@LisaMyers) April 21, 2015
From the KPMG press release:
KPMG in the U.S. has elected Lynne Doughtie to serve as its next Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, for a five-year term starting July 1. Doughtie currently leads KPMG’s Advisory business, and has distinguished herself in numerous leadership positions since launching her career in the firm’s Audit practice three decades ago.So, besides the fact that she lacks a Y chromosome, she's basically a perfect fit for the good old boy team: 30 year veteran of Kool Aid drinking, over the age of 50, prepared with nonsense quotes about the work the firm does as if any of it involves anything other than making money for the firm. A shoe in, really, so her lady parts are just a bonus for the firm to get lots of pats on the back for being disruptive and innovative and super chick-friendly and stuff.
“It is an honor to have the chance to lead KPMG at such a pivotal moment, when ensuring quality and confidence in the work we do has never been more important,” said Doughtie. “Our firm, our clients and the entire marketplace are looking at a future of unprecedented change and extraordinary opportunity, where ‘business-as-usual’ is going to mean constant innovation and transformation. I’m excited to team with our incredibly talented people, as we work closely with companies and other organizations to help them address their most complex challenges and opportunities.”
Stop it. You know we have a long way to go toward gender equality when the fact that a firm chooses a female for a leadership position is the lead on any press release. So what, she's a woman.
Don't get me wrong, we could use more women in leadership positions. But so long as their appointments come with jerky-offy congratulations over choosing women, then we haven't really progressed any. Real progress comes when we elect women not because it's the PC or trendy thing to do, but because they are the best qualified for the position and no one needs to be like "HEY GUYS LOOK AT US WE PICKED A CHICK THOUGH!"
In KPMG's defense, their press release did nothing of the sort. It highlighted her many accomplishments, not her her-ness. And we need more of that. But then we have this:
Doughtie has been recognized with numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including being named one of Consulting Magazine’s “Top 25 Consultants” and “Top Women Leaders in Consulting.” She was also featured in Profiles in Diversity Journal’s “Women Worth Watching,” and recognized in Accounting Today’s “Women in Accounting.”So she ranks up there with the best consultants but her other achievements are apparently limited to being a woman in her chosen field. Awesome. Girl power. Chicks and stuff, or something. Fuck, we have further to go than I thought.
Lynne sounds like an awesome person and here's hoping she can lead KPMG through what promises to be an interesting time for not just her firm but the rest. KPMG is wise to put someone from Advisory at the helm of the ship since no one gives a fuck about Audit. Note I said "someone" not "a lady" because it needs to not be about which set of chromosomes a person was given at birth.