Global accounting leader welcomed back to Belfast

Apr 03, 2019

Feargal McCormack Shaun Kelly Gerry Kelly 2

One of Northern Ireland’s most successful business leaders was welcomed back to Belfast this morning to discuss leadership values, as well as the impact of Brexit and its potential effect on investment from the US.

Shaun Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of KPMG International, based in New York, spoke to an audience of 250 business leaders at the Chartered Accountants Ireland Leadership Symposium at the ICC in Belfast this morning.

Originally from Belfast, Mr Kelly is part of KPMG’s Global management team with responsibility for KPMG’s operations in 150 countries and their more than 200,000 people.

Speaking in Belfast this morning he said: “Leadership and ethics in business are more important now than they have ever been. The bedrock of business has to be trust and integrity.”

On the issue of Brexit, Mr Kelly said: “This is where leaders have to step up. Leaders are elected or appointed to make the right decisions and I believe that Chartered Accountants have an important role to play in helping people to plan ahead and helping businesses to adapt.

“Whatever the political solution to Brexit may be, my strong belief from a business standpoint is that the more we can have open borders, mobility of capital and mobility of people, the easier it is to drive economic growth and create jobs”.

On the prospects of US investment into Northern Ireland Mr Kelly said: “We are still seeing a good stream of investment coming into Northern Ireland from the US. Local politicians can do a very powerful job of communicating the opportunity for global businesses. The uncertainty of not having a Northern Ireland Executive does make it more difficult to show that Northern Ireland politicians are focused on business and supporting business investment.

“There are tremendous opportunities for Northern Ireland as an investment location. We must ensure that we invest in education at all levels to make sure that Northern Ireland has the people with the relevant skills that overseas investors are looking for.”

Pictured in Belfast are (from left) Institute President Feagal McCormack; Shaun Kelly, COO KPMG International; and broadcaster Gerry Kelly.