Discover your dream Career
For Recruiters

"Bill Michael was a good man and he will be missed at KPMG"

I'm a junior at KPMG in London. I'm also a minority. And I'm not alone when I say that I will sorely miss Bill Michael, the head of KPMG UK who resigned last week after a media storm around his "stop moaning" statement in an internal meeting. 

I know Bill: he's one of many leaders at KPMG UK that I've worked with during my time at the firm. Yes, he's very straightforward in how he speaks, but Bill Michael is also a very nice and kind man. No matter who you were in the firm, no matter what level you were at, he would always give you time. He's the type of person who will always respond to a message asking for help on LinkedIn, even if he doesn't know you. This is more than can be said for a lot of the other leaders at KPMG.

I find it hard to believe that he's resigned. Yes, he spoke bluntly, but fundamentally I don't believe that he said anything very wrong: if you have a well-paid job now, you shouldn't be complaining about it. Try to put your complaints in context: there are people out there who've lost lives and livelihoods. Things are hard, but if you have a job of the kind that most people have at KPMG, you're one of the lucky ones. This was Bill's fundamental message, but it was lost in his blunt delivery. - That's a shame, and it's an even greater shame that he felt compelled to resign - after immediately apologizing - as a result. Remember that Bill himself had taken a pay cut last year, as had the other partners. 

Instead of hounding a good man out, we should have looked more carefully at the issues within KPMG and how we can deal with them. Yes, the forced ratings distribution curve was wrong, and it's good that this is going. - People were being rated badly even when they'd performed well, and it wasn't fair. Yes, too, people have been overworked, but this wasn't Bill Michael's fault. If anything, the excess work is a reflection of poor management at the top of the divisions as the other leaders agreed to taking on too much. Bill's disappearance could even make this worse. 

Bill Michael knew the business, and he knew what its priorities should be. Yes, he could sound aggressive - but leaders can be aggressive, and fundamentally he was a good person. His message about moaning wasn't wrong: there's a culture of complaining at most of the Big Four. Instead of griping, we should celebrate happiness and be more thankful for what we've got. 

Zayda Remitti is a pseudonym

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: in the first instance. Whatsapp/Signal/Telegram also available. Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

Photo by Logan Armstrong on Unsplash

AUTHORZayda Remitti Insider Comment
  • Tr
    Trey LEone
    20 February 2021

    I think this was the final nail in the coffin for Bill.
    - Bullying of senior partners
    - Carillon
    - Worst financial performers out of Big 4
    - Global scandals with corrupt government
    All of this with high scrutiny of the profession and industry in the midst of regulatory overhaul.
    Bill KNOWS this! He can’t afford to be sloppy with his words.

    Bill also knows that his employees have worked overtime for a number of years with no extra pay and very little reward compared to market rates.

    Bill knows some employees might have had loved ones die. Bill also knows that he is U.K. chair and can’t just say whatever he feels like and get away with it.

    Bill may be a nice guy but Bill is also unaware.

  • Su
    Sue Dunham
    18 February 2021

    It would be good to learn which of Bill's mates typed this one up. Ranting and raving in that manner to a cohort of 1,500 employees who have struggled through the pandemic in their own way is tactless in the extreme, to put it generously. You couldn't design worse headlines if you tried. Man was a liability and an idiot, typed up his own death warrant and signed it with a spray of liquid feces. Good riddance.

  • Ma
    Marcos Garcia da Silveira
    17 February 2021

    Couldn't agree more! Voice of wisdom!

  • mi
    16 February 2021

    Get treated badly and be so grateful to be working for such a wonderful company, that treats you badly, and he is one of the only people who cares. Aspire for better than that in life, please

  • As
    16 February 2021

    Signs of a declining society: straight-talking competents being pushed out by backstabbing, scheming bulls**tters who only know how to kowtow to the prevailing dogma of the day.

    KPMG isn't alone.

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs
Northern Trust
Fee Specialist - Global Family Office
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Executive Administrative Assistant
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Training Consultant, Capital Markets Operations
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States
Northern Trust
Sr Trust Advisor
Northern Trust
Las Vegas, United States
Northern Trust
Sr Account Manager, WM Advisory
Northern Trust
Dallas, United States
Northern Trust
IT Audit Manager
Northern Trust
Chicago, United States

Sign up to our Newsletter!

Get advice to help you manage and drive your career.