"The business will allow minorities and women who walked out of the market to feel like they want to work in it. Many feel like they cannot participate in this market. We will bring proper diversity into this market,” said Ina

By Ian Horswill


Posted on September 4, 2019

Two former female senior partners who resigned at accounting firm KPMG over the way the company handled the bullying claims made against deal advisory boss Sanjay Thakkar have launched a rival company together.

Maggie Brereton and Ina Amaro Kjær have agreed there will be no gender pay gap at their business Eos Deal Advisory, named after the Greek goddess of the dawn.

Brereton told the Financial Review they were hoping to reshape the deal advisory market by running a diverse business that does not “waste talent” by relying on an intense after-hours working culture that tends to exclude women and minorities. She said her business will not pull “all-nighters” to meet client deadlines or adopt “macho” working practices, and will move away from “a very old school way of selling deals”, she said.

“We don’t want to be a new KPMG, a mini-me.”

Amaro Kjær added: “The business will allow minorities and women who walked out of the market to feel like they want to work in it. Many feel like they cannot participate in this market. We will bring proper diversity into this market.”

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Brereton, who was head of UK transaction services and a board member, and Amaro Kjær, former head of UK integration in the deal advisory team, had 40 years’ experience between them at KPMG and were highly respected as two of its most talented partners. They were put on six months gardening leave when they quit over how the company dealt with an allegation against Thakkar.

They hope to hire 15 people by the beginning of October, when the business will be fully functional.

In another distinction that will set the company apart from rivals, the women’s pre-deal and post-deal specialists will work closely together on the advice that they will offer clients.

The two women are undaunted in the face of potential political and economic chaos.

“Brexit will get you more deals,” Brereton said. “Any crisis creates more opportunities. [Companies] are becoming cheaper by the day because of [the weakness in] sterling and uncertainty around trade. Good quality companies are undervalued and that’s an opportunity, and there’s a wall of private equity money out there.”

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