PwC Australia reportedly announced on Monday that it has terminated eight partners as a result of an internal investigation into the case of leaking confidential government tax plans of the company by a former partner.
The investigation revealed multiple instances of "misuse of confidential information," which clearly breached professional standards. Additionally, it identified significant deficiencies in leadership and governance in addressing these breaches, as stated by PwC in a released statement.
Acting CEO Kristin Stubbins emphasized the importance of accountability in improving the company's culture. She was quoted stating that the investigation till date shows that the conduct of several partners did not meet the company’s expected standards, who are now facing the consequences of their misconduct.
This move comes as part of PwC's efforts to contain the repercussions of the scandal. The former partner, who had been guiding the government of Australia on new tax laws to target corporate tax avoidance, had shared confidential drafts with colleagues, leading to unethical practices to gain business globally.
Among the eight partners involved, previous chief executive Tom Seymour, who left the firm in May after admitting to receiving emails containing confidential government tax information, is included.
Three partners were specifically held accountable for failing to meet their professional responsibilities, while the remaining five, including the financial services division head, were removed due to their inability to prevent such events or hold others accountable for their misconduct.
PwC emphasized that such behaviors were unacceptable under their standards, reiterating its commitment to maintaining professional integrity and ethical conduct. The investigation is still ongoing in some areas.
The scandal has had significant consequences for the firm, leading to the loss of major clients and prompting the spin-off of its profitable public sector consulting business for A$1.
While the terminated partners, including Tom Seymour, and the other seven individuals named in the statement, have not responded to requests for comment, PwC remains dedicated to addressing the issue and upholding its reputation as one of the world's leading "big four" accounting firms.