KPMG UAE holds conferences with purchasers after governance row


The chief government of KPMG’s enterprise within the United Arab Emirates has held face-to-face conferences with key purchasers in an try and shore up confidence within the agency following weeks of unrest regarding his management and complaints about governance.

Nader Haffar, head of KPMG Decrease Gulf since 2018, and different senior leaders on the agency have held the conferences and despatched letters to main purchasers after the Monetary Instances revealed that senior companions had left the enterprise after elevating issues about inside governance.

The consumer conferences have been flagged in an inside memo despatched to workers, seen by the FT, which additionally suggested the agency’s 1,300 staff on find out how to tackle “speaking factors” with purchasers in the event that they raised questions concerning the current ructions on the enterprise.

The memo was despatched final week by Talal Cheikh Elard, head of purchasers and markets, to all workers at KPMG Decrease Gulf.

Cheikh Elard is Haffar’s brother-in-law and a few senior companions have expressed concern concerning the chief government’s current try to provide his relative a extra highly effective function. These senior companions have been later pressured out of the enterprise.

Haffar has additionally been accused of making the most of weak governance at KPMG Decrease Gulf to increase his tenure by one other 5 years by way of an election at brief discover and with no opposition candidate. In the meantime, whistleblowers have complained to KPMG Worldwide concerning the intemperate behaviour of each Haffar and Cheikh Elard.

Final week, KPMG Decrease Gulf stated it could rent a legislation agency to conduct a assessment of its governance and oversee a brand new election for the function of chief government and chair. Haffar has confirmed that he’ll stand on this election.

KPMG Decrease Gulf declined to verify whether or not it could publish the findings from the governance assessment.

KPMG Decrease Gulf serves 3,400 purchasers, in keeping with figures cited by Haffar to workers. They embrace Dubai World, an funding firm that acts for the Dubai authorities, and Majid Al Futtaim Group, an Emirati actual property and retail conglomerate. The agency additionally advises sovereign wealth funds ADQ and Mubadala Funding Firm, in addition to the Abu Dhabi Nationwide Oil Firm.

Some present and former companions stated the rerun election dangers being a farce. The priority is that any particular person who stands towards Haffar may shortly be ousted in the event that they lose and that credible potential challengers have already left.

Haffar instructed workers at KPMG Decrease Gulf that “eligible candidates” from the present partnership can be invited to run towards him. The agency declined to reply questions on which companions can be deemed eligible or who would resolve on the names to be included on the poll. It didn’t disclose the timing of the election.

“Our governance and values are a vital a part of who we’re, and we take any questions raised about their rigour extraordinarily severely,” stated KPMG Decrease Gulf, including that it could “embrace any adjustments we have to guarantee our agency provides one of the best for our individuals, our purchasers and wider society”.

It stated its board had agreed to a request from Haffar to run a brand new election and that Haffar had the board’s “full backing” as chief within the meantime.

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