PwC exits additional senior partners over government tax scandal

03 July 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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PwC has named several more partners who have departed or are being ‘exited’ from the firm – found to have failed in their professional standards or leadership over its government tax policy scandal.

Embattled professional services firm PwC continues to shed senior leaders over its government tax policy scandal, with Peter Konidaris and Eddy Moussa among those now publicly named as failing to meet their professional responsibilities. Richard Gregg will also be removed from the partnership along with Peter van Dongen and Wayne Plummer.

Previously stepping down from their senior roles, Peter Calleja and Sean Gregory have now been ‘exited’.

PwC exits additional senior partners over government tax scandal

The latest moves follow what the firm described as a ‘milestone’ in its internal investigation, which began in May under the direction of former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski.

Those being jettisoned were found to have either breached professional and ethical standards as to the misuse of confidential information, or failed in their leadership and governance roles to have adequately addressed the matter, both at the time and during the subsequent investigations.

Among the former group – those being actively linked to the confidentiality breach – is heavyweight Peter Konidaris, PwC’s former government, health and infrastructure head who was originally thought to have been crossing to the proposed Allegro divestment codenamed Bell. Konidaris also previously served as PwC’s Melbourne managing partner, having first joined its ranks in 2007. The AFR reports that PwC had initially denied his involvement.

Joining Konidaris – and the previously named quartet who had already departed the firm, including instigator Peter Collins – as those signaled to have been actively involved in attempting to capitalise on the privileged information, are decade-long R&D tax incentive partner Richard Gregg, and Eddy Moussa, a tax controversy and dispute resolution partner who joined the firm in Sydney in 1998 and provides legal advice on tax matters.

The second group, described as failing in their leadership duties by enabling poor behaviours to persist with no accountability or by not addressing cultural deficiencies at the firm, features former PwC chairman and assurance national managing partner Peter van Dongen, and company veteran Wayne Plummer, a corporate tax partner since 1999 who headed quality and risk for financial advisory. Together with Gregg, both men are yet to depart.

Also having been informed of the investigation’s findings against him but yet to officially leave the partnership is former CEO Tom Seymour, who stepped down under immense pressure in early May. In a statement, PwC noted that Seymour’s recommended exit is now earlier than his previously announced September retirement date. Seymour, like Calleja and Gregory, are being accused of leadership failings rather than playing an active role.

“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,” commented acting CEO Kristin Stubbins, who will shortly hand over to UK partnership outsider Kevin Burrowes. “They are now being held accountable for their misconduct. While we cannot change the past, we can control our actions today and in the future.”