PwC Australia exits eight partners for professional or governance breaches

Monday, 3 July 2023

PwC Australia exits eight partners for professional or governance breaches

PwC Australia announced today that it has reached conclusions in its investigation into the handling of confidential Treasury information and past failures in professional, ethical or leadership responsibilities. Today’s announcement is the latest in a series of actions that PwC Australia has taken over the past several weeks to take accountability, reshape the firm’s culture, and most importantly, re-earn trust with its stakeholders.

As a result of the investigation’s findings, eight partners have exited or are in the process of being removed from the partnership.

The investigation identified a number of specific examples where professional standards were breached with respect to misuse of confidential information or other matters reviewed by the ATO. Furthermore, the investigation identified a failure of leadership and governance to adequately address the matters, either at the time or whilst the matters were under investigation by the TPB or ATO. This enabled poor behaviours to persist with no accountability. These behaviours are not, and never have been, acceptable under PwC’s standards.

Consequently, Peter Konidaris and Eddy Moussa have exited the PwC partnership because their actions failed to meet their professional responsibilities. For similar reasons, Richard Gregg has been given notice of PwC Australia’s findings against him and a process has started under the Partnership Agreement to remove him from the partnership.

Additionally, Pete Calleja and Sean Gregory have exited the PwC partnership as a result of their failure to adequately exercise their expected leadership or governance responsibilities to prevent these actions or to address the deficiencies in culture at the firm or hold others accountable for their behaviours. For similar reasons, Peter van Dongen, Wayne Plummer and Tom Seymour have been given notice of PwC Australia’s findings against them and the same process started under the Partnership Agreement to remove them from the partnership. Tom Seymour’s recommended exit is earlier than his previously announced retirement date.

These departures are in addition to the four former partners: Michael Bersten, Peter Collins, Neil Fuller, and Paul McNab, who were previously named as being involved in confidentiality breaches.

“Accountability is critical to improving our culture and based on our investigation to date, it is clear that the conduct of a number of partners fell short of what was expected of them. They are now being held accountable for their misconduct,” said Acting CEO Kristin Stubbins.

“While we cannot change the past, we can control our actions today and in the future. Moving forward, the PwC Australia management team will continue to take all appropriate steps to improve the firm’s culture and standards,” said Stubbins.

PwC Australia’s investigation to date has been extensive and whilst further work in some areas remains ongoing, these conclusions are an important milestone. The firm is fully committed to working cooperatively with all relevant regulatory bodies.

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Patrick Lane

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