Ernst & Young appoints first female Detroit managing partner

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
Angie Kelly takes over as the managing partner of Ernst & Young's Detroit office on Saturday.

Angie Kelly takes over Ernst & Young LLP's Detroit office Saturday as the first female managing partner in Detroit.

The 20-year EY veteran takes charge of the 700-employee office at a time when it has seen enormous growth. Her predecessor, George Lenyo, increased the office's headcount 40 percent and oversaw the extension of the company's lease at 777 Woodward at downtown's Campus Martius park.

He will continue in Detroit as a global coordinating partner for the automotive industry. Kelly said she plans to build on Lenyo's growth through mentorship and amplifying EY's brand in the market, even as she continues to work with her clients.

"I'm honored," Kelly said. "I'm so proud of the culture that we have created within our office and proud of the clients we serve and the community we serve."

Her appointment comes at a time when EY says it is working to increase diversity and inclusion in its workforce. It says it plans to create 100,000 professional job opportunities for women around the world by 2020.

Earlier this month, the London-based firm appointed two women to its U.K. board, making it evenly comprised of 50 percent men and 50 percent women. On Monday, however, a former employee filed the second sexual harassment lawsuit the company has seen in less than a year. Neither complaint was in Michigan.

"We take our culture and our commitment to our values very seriously and strive to have transparency with all of our people," Kelly said.

Kelly said the company will work to provide advisory, audit, tax and transaction services to its clients. They include small private businesses, companies looking to go public, and 90 percent of the Fortune 1000 companies in Michigan, including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, General Motors Co., Lear Corp., Stryker Corp. and Whirlpool Corp.

Since starting at EY as an intern in 1998, the Michigan State University graduate has helped the Detroit office double in size. Over the past six years, the company has attracted nearly a dozen new corporate clients and many private businesses. Kelly has provided auditing service for private and public companies in industries including automotive and transportation, diversified industrial products and life science.

Kelly also sits on the boards of TechTown Detroit and Hatch Detroit, which promote entrepreneurship. Additionally, she is the co-director of EY's Entrepreneur of the Year program for Michigan and Northwest Ohio.

Being open to opportunity and stepping out of her comfort zone, she said, has helped her to grow. During the Great Recession, she stepped into a technical role and worked with EY partners in Michigan to navigate clients through bankruptcy, insolvency and turnovers.

"After working through that time," she said, "I feel like I could work through anything."