Mr Howes joined the firm in 2014 after seven years as leader of the AWU. He has since led the firm’s asset and wealth management business and in 2017 set about building a customer, brand and marketing advisory offering.
He will continue to lead asset and wealth management until a replacement is appointed but is set to hand over the leadership the firm’s nascent customer business to Amanda Hicks from July 1.
Mr Howes was reluctant to talk unions or politics when queried about the impending election.
“The AWU was a big part of my life and I made a conscious decision five years ago to leave my role there and to move out of political life,” Mr Howes said.
Pressed on what it was about the AWU that has led him and Mr Shorten to such heights, Mr Howes said: “Bill [Shorten] has had an amazing career and would have had an amazing career no matter where he left.”
Mr Howes said he was now a “very different man to when I joined the partnership.
“Being a leader in this firm means you need to lead through others. That’s [been] a big journey for me because that’s not the way I operated,” he said.
“In my previous life, I would spend a lot of time leading as myself. It was the type of industry I worked in. It was big on your personal contribution. Being a leader in a partnership is about building leadership, building capability.”
KPMG has also appointed partner Sarah Vega to be the national managing partner of the firm’s innovation, digital and data business and a member of the leadership team from the middle of the year. She worked at technology consulting firm Accenture and Commonwealth Bank before joining KPMG last year.
KPMG CEO Gary Wingrove said Mr Howes and Ms Vega represented “the next generation of leaders of the firm”.
“This has two main objectives, refreshing the leadership team with new capabilities. The next is to push into market areas we think are important,” Mr Wingrove said.