LONDON — The chairman of accountancy firm KPMG in the U.K. has resigned after reportedly telling staff to stop complaining about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their lives and jobs.
Bill Michael said Friday he would leave at the end of this month because his position had become “untenable.”
The Financial Times reported that in a staff conference call on Monday, Michael told staff not to “moan” about the pandemic and to “stop playing the victim card” over concerns about possible cuts to pensions, pay and bonuses.
He also reportedly admitted to meeting clients for coffee during lockdown, and called training against unconscious bias — the idea that people can hold stereotypes and prejudices without realizing it — “complete crap.”
In a statement, the 52-year-old Australian executive said he was “truly sorry that my words have caused hurt amongst 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,” he said.
KPMG said Michael’s duties will be taken over by acting chairwoman Bina Mehta and acting senior partner Mary O’Connor.