Days after a meeting with members of the KPMG consulting team where staff were told to stop moaning about the latest lockdown, KPMG boss steps aside
The Big Four audit firm has now launched an internal investigation into the incident.
The move follows an online meeting on Monday with around 500 staff where Big Four firm chair Bill Michael addressed complaints about working conditions amid the pandemic.
The issue was first reported in the Financial Times, which said that staff had been told to stop ‘playing the victim card’.
On Tuesday Michael said: ‘I am sorry for the words I used, which did not reflect what I believe in, and I have apologised to my colleagues.
‘Looking after the wellbeing of our people and creating a culture where everyone can thrive is of critical importance to me and is at the heart of everything we do as a firm.’
A KPMG UK spokesperson: ‘Following the meeting on 8 February, the firm initiated an independent investigation into the alleged comments in accordance with its usual procedures. Mr Michael has decided to step aside from his duties as Chair while the investigation is underway.
‘We take this matter very seriously and will not comment further while the investigation is ongoing.'
Bina Mehta, a partner and member of the UK board, will take over the role as interim chair while the investigation proceeds. She is also the chair of KPMG’s Emerging Giants Centre of Excellence in the UK.
Last week the firm announced its annual results, reporting that KPMG UK’s revenues dropped by 4% last year, from £2.4bn to £2.3bn, while profits fell 6% and partner pay was cut by 11%, during a year which also saw the firm celebrate its 150th anniversary.