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KPMG promotes long-time exec David Rowlands to global head of AI

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Big Four accounting firm KPMG has named David Rowlands, a long-time executive at its UK affiliate, as global head of AI.

In his new role, Rowlands will be responsible for implementing a core element of KPMG’s growth strategy.

Earlier this year, the consulting giant signed a massive partnership with Microsoft focused on AI and cloud computing. The partnership will see KPMG spend no less than $2 billion across these two areas over the next five years with the goal of increasing its revenue by $12 billion through the investment.

As global head of AI, Rowlands will be one of the executives responsible for realizing that $12 billion in additional fee income. For perspective, the sum represents more than 5% of KPMG’s current annual sales.

Rowlands commented that “with the ability to boost productivity with speed and scale, AI models continue to transform businesses and are one of the keys to unlocking sustainable growth in a way that can build a better future for people, companies, and society.”

Rowlands is moving into the role after five years at the firm’s UK affiliate, where he was head of consulting. KPMG provides a range of consulting services spanning areas such as business strategy and software implementation.

Earlier, Rowlands was KPMG UK’s chief transformation officer, a role that put him in charge of internal initiatives focused on increasing the firm’s operational efficiency. Chief transformation officers typically spend a significant portion of their time on IT projects because better software translates into higher productivity at big businesses.

As KPMG’s global head of AI, Rowlands will be responsible for making new machine learning software available to the firm’s professionals. He will also oversee consulting engagements in which KPMG builds AI products for clients.

Rowlands’ third major area of focus will be building an “immersion program to help ensure KPMG teams are able to leverage the benefits of AI.” The company didn’t share more information on the focus of this program, but the wording indicates that it’s some sort of training initiative designed to train KPMG staffers in making the most of the AI software at their disposal.