KPMG names Derek Thomas National Partner-in-Charge of University Talent Acquisition

NEW YORK, Aug. 3 – KPMG LLP, the U.S. audit, tax and advisory firm, announces that Derek Thomas has been named National Partner-in-Charge, University Talent Acquisition (UTA) for the firm, effective August 1, 2022.

In this role, Thomas will work with the Vice Chair – Talent and Culture and UTA leadership team to lead the firm’s strategy to recruit the top campus talent for the future. This includes continuing to drive the firm’s Accelerate 2025 talent priorities and ensuring that KPMG’s relationships with schools, programs and faculty remain strong. He will continue to serve clients as a partner in the firm’s Federal Audit practice. 

Thomas succeeds James Powell, office managing partner of the firm’s Minneapolis office, who led the firm’s UTA efforts since 2017. During Powell’s tenure as national partner-in-charge of UTA, the number of full-time campus hires increased by 51 percent, and the firm brought on its largest intern class ever in 2022. As the UTA team returns to active recruiting on campuses, the processes, technology platform and enhanced campus strategy developed under Powell’s leadership and in response to the pandemic will continue to meet the needs of a more diverse, mobile, and technology-oriented workforce.

“The race for talent has never been more demanding and communicating a differentiated employee value proposition in today’s market requires a cohesive, innovative approach,” said Sandy Torchia, KPMG’s Vice Chair – Talent and Culture. “Derek has been actively engaged in the firm’s recruiting efforts for more than 20 years, and I look forward to working with him as he takes on this national role.”

Thomas has served as the UTA partner for the Federal Audit practice since 2013 and was the lead recruiting partner for Howard University, where he also serves on the Accounting Department Advisory Board.  He is also a member of KPMG’s African Ancestry Business Resource Group’s (BRG) national advisory board and KPMG’s National Audit DEI Council, and he is on the board of directors of the KPMG U.S. Foundation. Thomas has more than 26 years of experience providing audit services to clients in the government and nonprofit sectors. 

“I am proud to represent KPMG and build on James’ great work, including continuing to expand our engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and further developing our diversity student programs in support of the firm’s Accelerate 2025 priorities,” commented Thomas. “Attracting and retaining talented, diverse professionals will be key to continuing to serve our clients and communities with excellence.”

Thomas earned a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Liberty University. A member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, he is a licensed CPA in Virginia and the District of Columbia, as well as a Certified Government Financial Manager and Certified Information Systems Auditor.


KPMG LLP is the U.S. firm of the KPMG global organization of independent professional services firms providing audit, tax and advisory services. The KPMG global organization operates in 144 countries and territories and has more than 236,000 people working in member firms around the world. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such. KPMG International Limited is a private English company limited by guarantee. KPMG International Limited and its related entities do not provide services to clients.

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