KPMG boss quits after telling staff to stop moaning about the pandemic


  • Bill Michael, KPMG UK boss, resigned Friday after telling staff to quit moaning about the pandemic.
  • He told consultants they were very lucky and that unconscious bias training was “utter c–p.” 
  • KPMG will replace Michael with two women — the firm’s first female leaders in its 150-year history.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Bill Michael, the chairman and senior partner of KPMG UK, on Friday resigned after a backlash over comments he allegedly made at a meeting with consultants on Monday.

After staff raised concerns over cuts to their pay, Michael reportedly told staff in a video call they shouldn’t “sit there and moan” about working during the pandemic, The Financial Times first reported.

He said the consultants are “very lucky” to be working in the finance sector.

Michael, who has worked at KPMG UK since 2017, also told staff they should “not play the role of the victim unless they are sick” and should “take control of [their] life.”

He added that unconscious bias training has never improved anything in the workplace and has been “complete and utter c–p for years.”

Michael, 52, also said he’d met with his clients for coffees during lockdowns, The Financial Times reported. 

Read more: ‘Big 4’ salaries, revealed: How much Deloitte, KPMG, EY, and PwC accountants and consultants make, from entry level to executive roles

Michael said sorry at the end of the call for his comments and also apologised in an email to KPMG’s financial services consulting team. He then temporarily stepped aside after KPMG launched an independent investigation into his remarks.

On Friday, he said: “I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm.” He further apologised for his words.

KPMG didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

The professional services and accounting giant will replace Michael with Bina Mehta as acting chairman and Mary O’Connor as acting senior partner. This is the first time in its 150 years of existence that KPMG will appoint female leaders.

Metha said: “Bill has made a huge contribution to our firm over the last thirty years, especially over the last three years as chairman, and we wish him all the best for the future,” per The Financial Times.

Were you in this call? Have you had a similar experience at this company? Get in touch with this reporter via email: kduffy@insider.com.



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