Row brewing after BHP appoints KPMG’s UK audit chair Michelle Hinchcliffe to its board
A row is brewing after BHP appointed KPMG’s UK audit chair Michelle Hinchcliffe to its board.
The mining group is a recent client of KPMG and between 2003 to 2019 it paid the bean-counter around £210million for audits alone.
Concern: Accountants and investors are now flagging concerns about whether Michelle Hinchcliffe (pictured) can be an independent board director
Accountants and investors are now flagging concerns about whether Hinchcliffe can be an independent board director. She is set to leave KPMG and join BHP, the world’s largest miner, next February.
Hinchcliffe will also sit on the company’s risk and audit committee. Her move complies with City rules that say an individual must not join a former client for two years, though one auditor at another accounting firm said such appointments ‘always smell’.
Hinchcliffe was a board member of KPMG’s Australia division until 2015, although she never personally worked on the BHP account.
BHP hired Hinchcliffe days after it unveiled plans to abandon its dual corporate structure and shift its primary stock market listing to Australia. This means it is unlikely to be included in the FTSE 100 index in future.