Frances Ball 9 Sep 2019 03:18pm

KPMG partners quit in wake of WhatsApp row

Mike Walters and Harps Sidhu, both among the firm’s most senior financial consultants, have quit KPMG in the wake of an investigation into their boss’s conduct, the Financial Times reports

Tim Howarth, their boss and head of the UK consulting unit, was ousted earlier this year after claims of misconduct.

According to the FT, the investigation into Howarth related to the way that he used WhatsApp messenger.

The financial services arm of KPMG made revenues of £681m last year. Three departures at the top level of the firm’s largest business line have turned the division into “a bit of a disaster zone”, according to sources for the FT.

Lisa Fernihough has taken over from Howarth as head of financial services consulting for the firm’s UK branch. Neither Walters nor Sidhu have yet been officially replaced.

This is not the first time this year that allegations of misconduct have shaken KPMG.

In February, two senior and highly respected female partners quit KPMG in protest at the way the firm dealt with allegations of bullying against the then-head of deal advisory, Sanjay Thakkar.

Maggie Brereton and Ina Kjaer went on to launch their own firm, Eos Deal Advisory, saying that they “will bring proper diversity to the market.”

KPMG declined to comment.