The KPMG network was formed in 1987 when Peat Marwick International and Klynveld Main Goerdeler merged along with their respective member firms.
The KPMG network was formed in 1987
When the industrial revolution of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century helped transform accounting into a profession, KPMG’s founding fathers were center stage, pioneering the industry.
William Barclay Peat
William Barclay Peat (the P in KPMG) started his career in accountancy at just 17, working for Robert Fletcher & Co. He quickly rose through the ranks, and in 1891, Peat assumed leadership of the firm, and renamed it William Barclay Peat & Co.
In 1897, the US firm Marwick, Mitchell & Company got its start in New York City. The company was formed by James Marwick (the M in KPMG) and Roger Mitchell – both Scottish immigrants. It wasn’t easy establishing a firm in the city – many thought there was no place or need for accountants, but the two soon built a strong reputation.
Meanwhile, in 1917 Piet Klynveld (the K in KPMG) opens small accounting firm in Amsterdam. Jaap Kraayenhof joins and firm becomes Klynveld Kraayenhof & Company (KKC). By the time Klynveld passed away in 1946, he left behind the largest accounting firm in the Netherlands.
The last of our founding fathers, Reinhard Goerdeler (the G in KPMG) comes into the story almost half a century later in 1953, when he joined Deutsche Treuhand-Gesellschaft (DTG).
Mergers in the early years
In 1911, Peat and Mitchell met as fellow passengers on an Atlantic crossing from Europe to America. The two hit it off on the week-long trip, and by the end of the journey, had hammered out a plan to join forces. The firm later became known as Peat, Marwick, Mitchell & Co.
Championing diversity from the start
At the turn of the twentieth century, Sir William Peat, as President of the ICAEW, championed changing the Institute’s rules to permit the admission of women. The first woman to qualify as an ICAEW accountant in 1924, Ethel Watts, was employed by his son, Sir Harry Peat, while in training.
The war years
In the first and second World Wars the British government turned to Sir Harry Peat (son of William Barclay Peat) and appointed him to be financial secretary designate of the Ministry of Food. The Ministry had the hugely important job of ensuring there were no food shortages in the UK. Meanwhile across the Atlantic in the United States, Partner, William M. Black was involved in the Lend-Lease program, which Congress established in March 1941, before the United States formally entered the war, to provide weapons, equipment and other assistance to its allies. During the summer of 1942, Black moved to London on special assignment to the Mission for Economic Affairs, where he was in charge of materials procurement for the US$60 billion Lend-Lease program and provided support to British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and his government.
Rapid change in the 70s and 80s
In 1978, Peat, Marwick, Mitchell Co (International) implemented a new structure and was renamed Peat Marwick International (PMI).
Growth was on the agenda for Klynveld Kraayenhof & Co. too. Just a year later in 1979, the firm joined forces with DTG and McLintock Main Lafrentz to form Klynveld Main Goerdeler (KMG).
Just under a decade later, In 1986 PMI merged with KMG. On January 1, 1987, when the merger was announced to the public, the joint companies renamed to Klynveld Peat Marwick Goerdeler. At the time it was the largest merger in the history of the accounting business.
The record breaking continues
And we didn’t stop record breaking there. In the mid-90s, KPMG was the first of the big five to publish reports and accounts, and the first to create a values charter.
In the 1990s and 2000s the KPMG network continued its expansion into emerging economies. In countries such as Russia, India and Myanmar, KPMG firms helped build economies and generate economic growth.
Today, the network of member firms exists in 154 countries, with 190,000 people, each committed to build on our solid foundation – and inspire confidence and empower change for our clients, communities and society at large.