Robert F. Kelley, a founding member of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Northwestern State University, passed away on Monday, June 12, 2017 in Palm Desert, California. He was 82 years old.
Kelley had a long and successful career, retiring in 1997 as managing partner-international affairs-worldwide of accounting firm Arthur Andersen & Co., SC, in Chicago, Illinois. He first joined the New Orleans office in 1964 as a member of the auditing staff. Kelley worked with governments on all public policy and regulatory issues affecting his firm’s operations in more than 70 countries.
Kelley previously served as managing partner-strategic communications, managing partner-marketing, and managing partner-practice services for the Arthur Andersen Worldwide Organization. As a partner in the Consulting Division, he had responsibility for the firm’s practice serving all levels of government around the world. His client experiences included work with the U.S. Treasury in the New York City fiscal crisis, the design and implementation of state-wide financial and budgeting systems for seven states, including the state of New York, and consulting engagements in welfare, health care, education, and energy programs.
As a senior partner, Kelley developed and implemented firm-wide strategies to guide management of operations within the varied regulatory regimes. He also provided intelligence systems support on interpreting the trends in trade, technology, and investments. He was responsible for the establishment of the firm’s public position on the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade) and the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services). Using a survey of trade impediments, professional issues, and trends in finance, Kelley’s group developed the strategies to involve the worldwide organization in the process of enhancing global trade in services. This effort resulted in the Ministerial Decision on Professional Services to be implemented by the World Trade Organization.
Kelley has also served on several internal executive committees at Arthur Andersen & Co., SC. These include the Partners’ Income Committee, the Committee on Operations, and the Chairman’s Advisory Council. Currently, he is one of 24 partners elected to serve on the Worldwide Committee on Professional Standards. Additionally, Kelley was also involved in politics, government, and civic activities throughout his prestigious career. For several years, he participated in the activities of the Business Council of the Democratic National Committee. Kelley also served as a member of the Committee on Competitiveness that developed the white paper on restoring U.S. competitiveness for the Democratic National Committee. He was an active participant in the European Institute, the International Business Council, Coalition of Service Industries, the Institute for International Economics, and the National Planning Association, all located in Washington, DC. In Chicago, Kelley was a member of the International Committee of the Executive’s Club, a member of the Council of Foreign Relations, and was appointed by Mayor Richard Daley to co-chair the Chicago Osaka Sister Cities program.
Internationally, Kelley served as a member of the Trade Committee of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee (BIAC). BIAC’s secretariat is located in Paris, and its single mission is to provide consultation from the perspective of business to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Kelley was also a member of the Investment and Services Policy Advisory Committee serving the U.S. Trade Representative. Recently, he was named to the Commission on Investment and Trade of the International Chamber of Commerce.
After retiring from Arthur Andersen, Kelley served as managing director of WBI, LLC, specializing in consulting, communications, game theory and strategy.
Kelley, a native of Winnfield, Louisiana, earned a B.S. degree from Northwestern State University in 1958. He was employed as a computer systems analyst for a large electric power company before deciding to return to school in 1962. In 1964, he received an M.B.A. from LSU, and shortly thereafter, took a job with Arthur Andersen and Co., SC. He was named to LSU’s EJ Ourso College of Business Hall of Distinction in 1997 and the NSU Long Purple Line in 1998.
Commissioned as a Distinguished Military Graduate in the ROTC, he served as an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. Kelley was the 17th initiate of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, helping lead the group’s transition from local fraternity Phi Kappa Nu in September 1956. He served as chapter president in the Fall of 1957.
Kelley is survived by his wife Nancy and two sons, Robert Kelley, Jr. and Clayton Kelley.