September 17, 2019

KPMG U.K.’s WhatsApp Fiasco Claims Two More Partners

Let’s take a look and see how things are going in KPMG U.K.’s financial services consulting business now that two more partners are leaving the firm after their boss was fired last month over messages he apparently sent on WhatsApp:

The KPMG financial services consulting practice is now “a bit of a disaster zone,” a source told the Financial Times, which broke the story today. The three departures have “knocked out the effective chain of leadership” within that practice.

“The core leadership of one of the most profitable areas of the business has just been taken out. People want to know what will happen to their careers,” the insider said.

Mike Walters

Another source told FT that the financial services consulting practice “is not a happy place to work at the moment.”

FT reported that Mike Walters, who joined KPMG as the head of financial risk management in 2013, and Harps Sidhu, KPMG’s head of capital markets consulting, will both leave the firm at the end of the month.

They’re following their now-former boss out the door. FT reported in mid-August that a KPMG disciplinary panel determined that Tim Howarth, head of the financial services consulting practice, committed misconduct after complaints were made about messages he had sent on WhatsApp.

Harps Sidhu

KPMG said it had sent Howarth packing, although he told FT in August that he had resigned and wasn’t forced out.

“I am surprised by the KPMG announcement of the outcome of a disciplinary panel, which is bizarre as the decision is under appeal,” he said. “I have not been given the reason for that decision. I had already resigned from the KPMG partnership. I did not believe that the process was fair or would lead to a just outcome. There is no complainant and there were no formal allegations pursued by anyone.”

Tim Howarth

According to FT, Lisa Fernihough has taken over as head of KPMG’s financial services consulting practice, which amassed £681 million in revenue last year, making it one of the firm’s top service lines.

We’re still not sure what was said in these WhatsApp messages Howarth allegedly sent, or if Walters and Sidhu were going to be implicated in that whole mess, or if they’re leaving as a show of solidarity for Howarth.

What we do know is this: KPMG U.K. is the gift that keeps on giving.

Related article:

WhatsApp, KPMG? U.K. Partner Given the Heave-Ho Over Messages He Sent

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