Eugene Desmond O'Kelly

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Eugene Desmond O'Kelly Is Dead at 53; Former Chief of KPMG in U.S.


Eugene Desmond O'Kelly, the former chairman and chief executive of KPMG's United States unit, died Saturday night in his apartment in Manhattan. He was 53.

The cause was cancer, according to a statement released by KPMG, the fourth-largest accounting firm in the United States, with 20,000 employees.

Mr. O'Kelly served as head of the KPMG unit from April 2002 until June 2005, when he stepped down for medical treatment.

During Mr. O'Kelly's time as chairman, the firm endured investigations by the Internal Revenue Service and federal prosecutors into tax shelters it had sold to wealthy clients from 1996 until 2002.
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In late 2003, Mr. O'Kelly began telling the firm's directors that the firm needed to take "a new direction," according to an article in The New York Times in August.

KPMG first acknowledged "unlawful conduct" in the creation and sale of the tax shelters about 10 days after Mr. Kelly stepped aside as chairman.

Last month, the firm settled the federal criminal investigation and agreed to pay $456 million.

Timothy P. Flynn, the new chairman of the firm, said Mr. O'Kelly put KPMG on the path to recovery. "He made some fundamental changes in how we run our business," he said.

Mr. Flynn said that Mr. O'Kelly lived for only about three months after his cancer was diagnosed.

KPMG has commissioned a book tentatively called "Chasing Daylight" to capture Mr. O'Kelly's thoughts on living and dying, Mr. Flynn said.

A graduate of Pennsylvania State University with an M.B.A. from Stanford University, Mr. O'Kelly joined KPMG in San Francisco in 1972.

He became a partner in 1982 and was appointed to the management committee in 1998.

He is survived by his wife, Corinne; two daughters, Eugenia O'Kelly and Marianne Pearson; two grandchildren, Charlotte Pearson and Oliver Pearson; his mother, Marian O'Kelly; two sisters, Linda O'Kelly, of Monmouth, N.J., and Rose Sherman, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.; and a brother, William O'Kelly, of Napa, Calif.

eugene desmond o'kelly former kpmg chairman & chief ex
Published on Mar 23, 2007

Society News Title
New young professionals committee debuts at this year's Financial Services Cares Gala

The 11th Annual Financial Services Cares Gala took place June 9 at the New York Hilton Midtown. More than 600 guests attended the gala, which raised more than $2.1 million!

Our CEO Gary Reedy spoke during the program and had a chance to meet the newly formed Associate Committee, comprised of 12 young professionals working at Bank of America, Blackstone, Citigroup, Clarion Partners, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, KPMG, Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCooper, and Trumid Financial. Its silent auction efforts raised nearly $40,000.

This event was founded to honor Eugene Desmond O'Kelly, the former chairman and chief executive of KPMG's United States unit, who died of brain cancer in 2005. He was 53. O'Kelly was committed to promoting philanthropy and volunteerism in the workplace, and instituted company policy to positively impact employee wellness. His wife, Corinne, continues his efforts by serving as the Gala Legacy Chair.

This gala brings together powerhouse financial institutions for a night of networking, exciting live auctions, and Wall Street's Got Talent, featuring performances by talented associates from participating companies.

Since 2011, the Society has donated a portion of the proceeds to support Hope & Heroes, a childhood cancer fund at Columbia University Medical Center in New York City, to assist with its cutting-edge programs and research. To date, the Financial Services Cares Gala has raised more than $14 million, with more than $9 million of that benefiting the Society.

This year the Eugene D. O'Kelly Award was presented to two distinguished doctors: Charles S. Fuchs, MD, MPH, and Adam Bass, MD, both of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at the Harvard Cancer Center. Fuchs's current research focuses on gastrointestinal cancer epidemiology, while Bass's expertise enhances modern genomics, experimental/functional biology, and clinical medicine. In addition, the Financial Services Cares Gala Distinguished Service Award in honor of Charles S. Hallac was presented to John Hancock Financial. Hallac, who conceived BlackRock Inc.'s investment management platform and founded its advisory business, died of colon cancer in 2015. He was 50.

This year's gala chairs were Robert F. Arning, vice chair, Market Development, KPMG, LLP; Robert S. Kapito, president, BlackRock; Richie Prager, managing director, BlackRock; and John Thiel, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management.
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