PwC Australia fires eight partners over tax leaking scandal

PwC Australia has fired eight more partners, including its former CEO, following its investigation into the handling of confidential Treasury information, and past failures in professional, ethical or leadership responsibilities.

When it came to failures of leadership and governance, PwC said failures at the top enabled poor behaviours to persist with no accountability. The firm said: “These behaviours are not, and never have been, acceptable under PwC’s standards.”

The firm now hopes that this latest move will draw a line under the breaches, and help to reshape the firm’s culture and re-earn trust with its stakeholders.

The eight ‘departures’ are in addition to the four former partners who were previously named as being involved in confidentiality breaches.

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

A few days before announcing the firings, PwC said it was divesting all its federal and state government business to Allegro Funds for $1. This will create two independent firms, while ensuring that there will be no disruption in the services to public sector clients. It is hoped this will help protect the jobs of some 1,750 people in PwC’s government business.

That means PwC Australia will exit from all government advisory work, at both state and federal levels. That represents around 20% of the firm’s revenue.