KPMG names Richards chief diversity & inclusion officer

Elena Richards has been named chief diversity & inclusion officer at KPMG, where she will lead the firm’s Accelerate 2025 Initiative, the audit, tax and advisory firm announced Tuesday.

Richards, who lives in Edison, will work out of the firm’s Montvale office and work closely with the management team and board of directors.

Richards, an accomplished HR, talent management and diversity professional with deep knowledge of the professional services industry, comes to KPMG from PricewaterhouseCoopers, where she most recently served as a managing director on PwC’s national diversity team. In that role, she worked to design and execute strategic diversity and talent management initiatives for the organization’s employees in the U.S.

The firm calls its Accelerate 2025 Initiative a “Five-Year Strategy to Drive Meaningful Change,” starting with, but not limited to hiring a more diverse workforce.

KPMG Chair and CEO Paul Knopp said the appointment of Richards reflects the core mission of the firm.

“At KPMG, our commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion reflects our values and is foundational to our culture,” he said. “We’re thrilled to welcome Elena, a well-respected and experienced leader who will work closely with me and our firm’s leaders to make meaningful progress against our I&D priorities.”

Richards also will partner with KPMG’s leadership teams to enhance the organization’s inclusive and diverse culture, which has earned the firm recognition as a top workplace by Fortune magazine, DiversityInc, Working Mother, the Human Rights Campaign, and more.

Richards earned a B.A. in criminal justice at the University at Albany, State University of New York, and is a certified professional coach. She also has served as an advisory board member for Howard University’s Center for Accounting Education and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants’ National Diversity & Pipeline Commission.

The KPMG global organization operates in 147 countries and territories and has more than 219,000 people working in member firms around the world.

Richards replaces Michele Meyer-Shipp, a Jerseyan, who left the company earlier this summer to become the chief people and culture officer for Major League Baseball.