KPMG UK boss told staff to ‘stop moaning’ about Covid work conditions | KPMG

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The UK chair of accountancy firm KPMG has apologised to staff after telling them to “stop moaning” during a virtual meeting about the pandemic and the impact of lockdown on people’s lives.

Bill Michael, an Australian who has headed the company since 2017, was speaking at a town hall meeting on Monday with members of the firm’s financial services consulting team when he made the comments.

Around a third of the team’s 1,500 employees took part in the virtual meeting which covered a wide of topics including life in lockdown, where workers also raised concerns about their potential future pay cuts and changes to their remuneration.

Michael told staff from the “Big Four” accountancy firm to “stop moaning” and that they should stop “playing the victim card”, according to the Financial Times.

It is understood that employees taking part in the meeting referred to and criticised Michael’s remarks in the comments section of the app used to conduct the event. Michael, who was hospitalised with Covid-19 in March 2020, subsequently rejoined the call and apologised to staff for his choice of words.

He explained that he had not intended for his comments to come across as they did, and that he had meant to share with colleagues how he looks after himself during lockdown, by taking walks and ensuring he does not schedule meetings late in the evening.

Michael later apologised by email to all members of the financial services consulting team at the accounting giant.

Michael said in a statement: “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.”

The apology comes just days after KPMG revealed in its annual results that its partners had received 11% less pay in 2020 than the previous year, resulting in average pay of £572,000 each for its 582 partners.

Michael received £1.7m, which was 14% lower than the near-£2m he collected in 2019.

The pay cuts at the Big Four firm, which employs 16,000 people across the UK, came as it reported a 6% drop in annual underlying profits, as a result of weaker demand for consulting and advisory services at the start of the pandemic.

KPMG said the pay cuts were needed to “protect jobs and support employees”, including the continued hiring of graduates and trainees.

Hafta Ichi
Source: The Guardian
Keyword: KPMG UK boss told staff to ‘stop moaning’ about Covid work conditions | KPMG

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