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KPMG UK boss quits after 'stop moaning' remarks to staff

Fri 12 February 2021 10:18 | A A A

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(Sharecast News) - Beleaguered KPMG UK boss Bill Michael quit on Friday after telling staff to "stop moaning" in a virtual meeting this week.

In a statement, the 52-year old Australian apologised and the scandal made his position at the accounting giant "untenable". Michael had told stunned staff in a Zoom meeting that they should stop "playing the victim card" and described the concept of unconscious bias as being "complete and utter crap for years".

"I love the firm and I am truly sorry that my words have caused hurt among my colleagues and for the impact the events of this week have had on them. In light of that, I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm. It has been a privilege to have acted as chair of KPMG," he said.

KPMG, which said that it would undertake a "leadership election" to replace Michael in due course.

In the virtual meeting on Monday, members of the accountant's financial services consulting group expressed concern about potential cuts to pension contributions, pay and bonuses. They also said they were unhappy about a rating system ranking team members from best to worst.

Michael on Thursday stepped aside while the firm started an independent investigation into the comments. He attempted to firefight the crisis with an apology expressing about his comments, saying " words matter and I regret the ones I chose to use today".

"I think lockdown is proving difficult for all of us. I am very sorry for what I said and the way I said it."

KPMG has asked board member Bina Mehta to step in as chairman in the interim.

Michael has chaired the big four firm since 2017. His recently announced £1.7m pay package also angered staff.

He said after being hospitalised with Covid-19 in March he should have thought more carefully about the impact the crisis was having on KPMG's workers. The firm has been cutting jobs in the past year and was reported to be considering reducing staff pension contributions.

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