Remember that KPMG U.K. male senior partner we told you about last week, the one who was accused of being a bully and was found by the firm to have acted like a jerk but not a bully when he was probably acting like a bully, and then two well-respected female partners quit in protest?
Well, we have an update, courtesy of the Financial Times:
One of KPMG’s most senior partners at the centre of a bullying dispute has quit his role and taken a leave of absence from the Big Four accounting firm after fresh allegations about his conduct surfaced last week.
KPMG said in a letter sent to all UK staff on Monday that Sanjay Thakkar, head of the firm’s advisory unit — one of its most profitable divisions — decided to step down from his role this week “in the wider interest of the firm”.
In the wider interest of the firm? Oh really? Thakkar should have been canned last week, but because he led one of KPMG U.K.’s most profitable divisions, KPMG gave him every benefit of the doubt imaginable during its investigation. Why? Because like the other Big 4 firms, all KPMG really cares about is money.
And this section of today’s FT article proves my point:
Several current and former KPMG employees told the FT that they felt complaints raised formally and informally about Mr Thakkar were not taken seriously or dealt with appropriately. Several fear the 50-year-old was protected because he brought in a large amount of revenues.
Last week it was revealed that Maggie Brereton, former head of U.K. transaction services and a nonexecutive U.K. board member, and Ina Kjaer, former head of U.K. integration in the deal advisory team, had resigned in February because they felt KPMG mishandled its investigation into Thakkar’s behavior.
Concerns were raised about Thakkar’s behavior last October, according to FT, and KPMG also received a formal complaint through the firm’s whistleblower hotline that same month about his conduct during a meeting.
His staff even gave his shitty behavior a nickname! According to FT, one former KPMG employee called it “being Sanjayed.”
But an investigation by KPMG concluded that despite the complaints, Thakkar wasn’t a bully, but “aspects of the individual’s behavior required improvement.” So they made him apologize to some people in January and forced him to take leadership coaching.
Taking over for Thakkar is Melanie Richards, KPMG’s deputy chair, who will become acting head of deal advisory in addition to her existing role, pending the appointment of new leadership.
According to FT, KPMG U.K. Chairman Bill Michael said in the email to staff that he had “heard enough over the past few days to know that not all of our people feel confident to speak up when they have concerns,” adding: “This is unacceptable.”
No, Bill. What is unacceptable is that it took two of the firm’s most prominent female partners to quit and even more allegations that Thakkar’s conduct was a little more worse than “aspects of the individual’s behavior required improvement” to realize that the people (presumably women) who had to put up with this guy’s crap may have been right about him being a bully in the first place.
Do better, KPMG. Do better.