Two Big Four chairs celebrated by New Year Honours list

04 January 2022 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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The New Year Honours 2022 list has been published, marking the achievements and service of people across the UK. Among this year’s honourees are the incumbent Chair of KPMG, Bina Mehta, and the former Chair of Deloitte, Nick Owen.

The New Year Honours is a part of the British honours system, with New Yeavr's Day being marked by naming new members of orders of chivalry and recipients of other official honours. The tradition stretches back at least as far as 1890, with awards presented by or in the name of the reigning monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II or her vice-regal representative.

This year, the list of honourees include Professor Chris Whitty, Tony Blair, Emma Raducanu and Daniel Craig. Also among the list of famous and infamous dignitaries, the consulting industry has been celebrated. Nick Owen and Bina Mehta have been honoured for their contributions to the UK economy.

Bina Mehta and Nick Owen

Owen is the former Chair of Deloitte’s UK board, and left his position in May 2021, after six years in the role. He was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the New Year Honours, with an announcement that his award was for “services to the professional services sector”.

Formerly a managing partner at Arthur Andersen Business Consulting, part of the US auditor that collapsed following the Enron scandal,  he was latterly a member of the Arthur Andersen UK Executive and EMEIA Consulting Executive teams, responsible for strategy and execution. Since exiting his last role with Deloitte, he still sits on the board of Macmillan Cancer Support and is also Chair of the UK’s Professional & Business Services Council.

Meanwhile, Mehta was handed an Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE), as she was recognised “for services to trade and investments in the UK and female entrepreneurs”. In 2021, Mehta became the first female Chair of KPMG’s UK wing, when she assumed the role on an interim basis. However, having helped stabilise the firm following the tumultuous exit of her predecessor, she had her tenure extended at the end of the year.

As well as boosting gender representation, Mehta’s goals for forging a more inclusive KPMG also include improving the firm’s social mobility. Speaking to the Sunday Times in late December, Mehta said that she wanted KPMG’s culture to be “inclusive, supportive and diverse”. She noted this would mean increasing the proportion of its senior staff from working-class backgrounds to 29%, from 20% today.

Consulting industry heavyweights regularly appear among the names on the New Year Honours list. In 2018, for example, Vivian Hunt, a Managing Partner for UK and Ireland at management consultancy McKinsey & Company, received a damehood for services to the economy and women in business.