Azets, a leading Northern European advisory, compliance, and outsourcing group, has announced the appointment of Melanie Richards as the new chair of its board of directors. Richards will work with group chief executive officer Chris Horne and the senior leadership team in delivering the company’s next phase of growth.

Richards brings large-scale general management, board, and advisory expertise, with over 40 years of corporate finance and capital markets experience. Richards was deputy chair of KPMG UK, with a focus on a broad set of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) topics including risk and reputation, culture and diversity and inclusion.

Richards is a non-executive director of Morgan Stanley International and HKA, a member of the boards of the Royal National Theatre and Invictus Games Foundation, and chair of The Eve Appeal. She sits on the UK Government Skills and Curriculum Unit Leadership Advisory Board and is an advisory partner of Manchester Square Partners.

Commenting on the appointment, Azets group chief executive, Chris Horne, said: “We are delighted to announce that Melanie has been appointed Chair of Azets Group. Melanie’s experience as a Chair, board member, and senior executive leading companies with their growth ambitions will help deliver our five-year Pathway strategy.

“Melanie joins Azets at an important stage of our development, as we continue to focus on investing in our colleagues and supporting the changing needs of our clients in each of the markets we serve.

“Melanie is an influential leader in diversity and inclusion and ESG, and I know our values are closely aligned both operationally and in these important areas. On behalf of the Board of Directors and everyone at Azets Group, we welcome Melanie and look forward to achieving great things together.”

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Richards was awarded a CBE in 2019 for her contribution to business and to the diversity and inclusion agenda. She is a founding member of the 30% Club Steering Committee, sits on the Steering Group of the FTSE Women Leaders Review and won the Outstanding Contribution to Social Mobility Award in 2018. She is an honorary member of the ICAEW and has been awarded an honorary doctorate of business and administration from Oxford Brookes University.

Commenting on her appointment, Richards said: “I’m pleased to be joining a successful and fast-growing business as we embark on its next growth phase. I’m very much looking forward to working with Chris and the executive team to achieve our ambitions. Azets is a purpose-driven business and I am energised by the opportunity to establish the Group’s leading market position and strong platform for future growth.”