PwC Australia acknowledges the breach of trust and extends an apology to stakeholders
PwC Australia has announced additional measures to strengthen the firm’s governance, accountability, and culture. The actions are being taken in response to ongoing investigations and aim to increase transparency and restore stakeholder confidence.
The key areas of focus for the announced actions are as follows:
- Leadership and Governance: Nine partners, including those in leadership or governance roles, have been directed to go on leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Additionally, the Chairs of the Governance Board and designated risk committee have decided to step down from their roles. These decisions complement the leadership actions previously announced.
- Ringfencing Federal Government Services: PwC Australia is implementing measures to enhance controls and prevent conflicts of interest in the provision of services to Federal Government Departments and Agencies. Separate governance and oversight arrangements will be established by the end of September, ensuring independence and stronger controls related to confidentiality and conflicts. PwC will consult with the Australian government on the timing and process of these arrangements.
- Independent Directors: Two independent, non-executive directors will be appointed to PwC Australia’s Governance Board to bring an outside perspective and objectivity to the firm’s governance. The appointment process for these directors is currently underway.
- Culture and Accountability: PwC Australia acknowledges its failure to conduct an appropriate root cause investigation and thorough assessment of accountability when the confidentiality breach occurred. To address this, an Independent Review led by Dr Ziggy Switkowski AO has been initiated to evaluate the firm’s culture, governance, and accountability. The review’s report and recommendations will be published in full at the conclusion of the Independent Review in September. Tony O’Malley has been appointed as Chief Risk and Ethics Leader to oversee immediate changes and implement the findings of the external review.
PwC Australia is also continuing its investigation, with the assistance of external counsel, into the sharing or misuse of confidential information. The firm clarifies that not all individuals whose names were redacted in the released emails are necessarily involved in wrongdoing. Action will be taken against those found to have breached confidentiality or failed in their leadership duties.
PwC Australia acknowledges the breach of trust and extends an unreserved apology to stakeholders. The firm is committed to taking all necessary steps to rebuild trust and restore confidence.