Karl’s profile 

I joined KPMG as a manager in 2000 in the South African firm. After being promoted to director level, I was seconded for a one-month assignment to Dubai to set up an Internal Audit function for a UAE-based publishing company.
Karl’s profile

Service line: Risk Advisory Role:Partner

Location: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Joined KPMG: 2000

The same client asked me back again and then KPMG’s UAE firm suggested that I set up a fully-fledged Internal Audit function here. I have done this before outside KPMG, but UAE really offered something different. I wanted to be more globally involved and I could see UAE was going to become a very important player on the international market.

This presented some exciting challenges: working in a different market, accepting additional responsibility with new opportunities and of course the opportunity to grow my role to a partnership level. What did I have to lose?

The UAE firm is now growing in leaps and bounds. From nothing we now have 55 IA professionals, and aim to grow that to 80 next year. I believe we are now the largest contributor to revenue in Risk Advisory services in UAE, with 40-45 percent growth this year.

The challenge in Dubai is to get the right people to deliver for the client. This economy is looking for growth strategies – totally unlike the west, where you may be just looking for ways of increasing margins. That requires you to explore and develop your skillsets, provide new innovations and rapidly learn about new industries.

Another great thing about Dubai is the exposure you get at high levels. I am the country partner representing KPMG’s MESA region and I also sit on the Internal Audit Services EMA board; I never would have got that exposure at home. I have also been given the mandate to assist in the growth of the region and to help ensure appropriate regional support.

I have constant contact with international partners from Chicago to China, and I have the experience to work and live in local cultural environment… but the opportunity and freedom to act within a global sphere. Personal development is rapid in Dubai. You will be challenged – so if you’re hungry, the opportunities are here.

The social life in Dubai is really energetic. People may have preconceived ideas about the Middle East, but 80 percent of the Dubai population is expats. It’s very westernized, and I have friends from all over the world. The city has an unbelievable buzz and energy that uplifts your spirits. 

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