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LONDON: The UK chairman of KPMG has resigned after he told staff at the global accountancy firm to “stop moaning” about working conditions during the coronavirus pandemic, the company said Friday.

Bill Michael, who had already stepped aside temporarily pending an internal investigation, will depart the firm at the end of February, KPMG added in a statement.

His duties are being filled on an acting basis by the first women in KPMG’s 150-year history to hold such roles.

“I love the firm and I am truly sorry that my words have caused hurt amongst my colleagues and for the impact the events of this week have had on them,” Michael said in the statement. “In light of that, I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm.”

Bina Mehta, as senior elected board member, has stepped in as acting chair of the board.

And head of clients and markets Mary O’Connor has assumed Michael’s day-to-day executive responsibilities as acting senior partner, the statement added.

The Financial Times reported that during a virtual meeting on Monday, members of KPMG’s financial services consulting team told Michael about their concerns over potential cuts to pay and the ranking of individuals’ performance.

Michael told staff to “stop moaning” and to stop “playing the victim card”, the FT wrote, citing employees.

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