The man lined up for one of the top financial roles in the Midlands has said he wants to help create a “new generation of plcs” in the region.
Steve Hollis has been named as the new head of financial giant KPMG in the Midlands when incumbent Mel Egglenton retires in June.
The new chairman is returning to the region after 10 years working in London and Europe to head up the firm’s new office at Number One Snowhill, and will be chairman of the firm’s three Midlands offices in Birmingham, Leicester and Nottingham.
Speaking to the Post he said the most noticeable difference in the region’s economy in the decade since he left was the gradual disappearance of large listed companies from the Midlands to London or abroad.
He said: “The biggest change is the drift of plcs from the Midlands down to London and abroad. There were more than 100 then and now there are closer to 50.
“It makes things different if you are looking for growth in the Midlands.
“We have really got to focus on the entrepreneurs that we have got, to focus on the businesses that are small at the moment so they grow and become the large firms of the future.”
He said technology-heavy and knowledge-based firms would be most likely to provide the successful companies of coming years, with healthcare and the automotive sectors being key drivers in the Midlands.
Mr Hollis joined KPMG Birmingham in 1982 as a newly qualified accountant. His most recent role has been as KPMG’s head of markets across Europe, Middle East and Africa with specific responsibility for client development. He was appointed a tax partner in 1992 and promoted to Midlands senior tax partner in 1995.
Three years later he served briefly as Midlands chairman and Birmingham office senior partner before moving to London in 2000 where he joined the firm’s UK leadership team and board.
He added: “The Midlands has always been in my blood so it was without hesitation that I accepted this role.
"I want to put the experience, knowledge and contacts I have amassed in my recent national and international roles to practical use to help drive the Midlands practice forward, and also to benefit the wider Midlands business community.
“The region has an outstanding pool of quality people and organisations across the private and public sectors that need to work more effectively together to attract further investment and encourage growth over the next five to 10 years into the region.
“I am starting to work behind the scenes to pull together strategic ideas and resources from within the local business community to help make this happen and bang the drum for Birmingham and the West Midlands.”
Outgoing office senior partner and Midlands chairman Mel Egglenton joined KPMG in 1976. In 2004, he was appointed to the UK board and he moved to the Birmingham office in 2005 having worked in the firm’s Nottingham and London offices where he was appointed UK head of middle markets.
He said:“Since joining the firm I have been very lucky to have worked with wonderful clients and gifted colleagues both in the UK and overseas. The firm’s been absolutely brilliant to me, I owe it loads.
“Steve is a natural choice and has the track record to take up this role in the region. He has an ability to motivate and lead people, and his strategic experience on client development will benefit the firm and local businesses.
“I know him very well, and we go back a long way. He was running the Midlands when I was running the East Midlands.”
He said he would be looking for new work and staying in the Midlands after he retired from KPMG, possibly something in a non-executive position.
John Griffith-Jones, the joint chairman of KPMG Europe, said: “I would like to wish Mel every fortune in his new career and thank him for everything he has done in his time at KPMG. We all look forward to working with Steve in his new role back home in the Midlands.”
KPMG in the Midlands employs more than 1,300 people, including 50 partners. More than 1,000 people work in the firm’s Birmingham office alone.