This website uses cookies. Learn more via our web privacy policy. For questions, please email
Bruce Pfau - Columbus State University Skip to Main Content
Leadership Institute Columbus State University The Forum

Bruce Pfau

Bruce Pfau

Partner, Human Capital Strategy and Culture Transformation, KPMG, LLP

Bruce Pfau, Ph.D., is a senior partner in KPMG’s People and Change practice, where he advises C-Suite executives on linking human resources strategy to financial results, driving culture and organization transformation, and creating purpose-driven organizations. In his 30-year career, he has been recognized as one of the country’s most prominent chief human resources officers (CRHO), a top-level management consultant, and thought-leading author, speaker and behavioral scientist.

From 2004 to 2016, Pfau served as KPMG LLP’s vice chair, Human Resources and Communications, and was a member of its 10-person Management committee. As the firm’s CHRO, he led a team of 700 professionals and all KPMG human resources strategy and operations, including recruiting, employment branding, compensation and benefits, organization/culture development, acquisition integration, HRIS, learning and development, succession planning, employee relations, performance management, diversity and inclusion, corporate social responsibility and mobility. As vice chair, Communications, he was responsible for the development and execution of the firm’s internal and external communications strategies and initiatives, and oversight of KPMG’s U.S. intranet. Globally, Pfau was a leader of KPMG International’s multinational HR executive team.

During his tenure, KPMG underwent a culture transformation. Partner and employee engagement scores increased more than 30 points to record high; turnover dropped to historic lows; and KPMG was ranked among FORTUNE’s 100 Best Companies to Work For 10 times, rising 68 ranks to be #1 among the Big 4 firms each year from 2014-2017. In addition to being recognized as an employer of choice by virtually every publication and outside judging organization of note in 2015, the firm’s award-winning “higher purpose” culture transformation initiatives were highlighted in a Harvard Business Review case study entitled “How an Accounting Firm Convinced its Employees They Could Change the World.”

Prior to joining KPMG, Pfau led the Organization Effectiveness and Organization Research practices at two of the world’s leading human resources consulting firms, Watson Wyatt (now Willis Towers Watson) and the Hay Group, where he was a partner. At Watson Wyatt, he led the groundbreaking Human Capital Index Study, which identified the 21 HR practices that drive or detract from shareholder value and served as the basis of the 2002 book he co-authored, “The Human Capital Edge.” At Hay Group, he led the team that conducted FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies.

A recognized thought leader in employee engagement, HR strategy, organization transformation, purpose-driven cultures and organizational research, Pfau is often quoted in major business publications and is a sought after platform speaker and lecturer. His 2016 Harvard Business Review article “What Do Millennials Really Want at Work? The Same Things the Rest of Us Do” is a fact-based debunking of the conventional wisdom and misguided action that is aimed at today’s younger employees. He is profiled as one of America’s 50 top executive coaches in “The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching,” and was elected to the Human Resources Executive Honor Roll in 2008.