Leader – Canada dry? Not a bit of it

[QQ]A couple of months ago, Management Consultancy reported on the upheavals at KPMG Canada.[QQ] It appeared that Arthur Andersen had taken control of KPMG’s entire practice, with the full backing of KPMG partners. The move was to have created Canada’s largest professional services firm and all was fine and dandy until news broke that the deal had been scuppered – thanks to speedy work on KPMG International’s part. In a series of swift manoeuvres, KPMG Int.[QQ] wooed and tempted its own staff back to the fold, leaving Arthur Andersen empty-handed and somewhat bemused.[QQ] Russel Robertson, managing partner of Arthur Andersen said: “We knew there would be certain partners who would not want to move away from KPMG, but we were really surprised at how quickly KPMG Canada decided to terminate the deal in the face of what struck us as the type of opposition you would expect.”[QQ] The backroom back-pedalling that led to the “merger’s” collapse would rival any Whitehall farce you care to mention. KPMG Canada was concerned that in-fighting would lead to a fracture in its own organisation and so pulled out. It’s chairman J Spencer Lanthier and deputy chairman Hugh Bessel promptly resigned. Andersen’s Robertson has been left scratching his head. The entire episode, originally touted as a “once in a lifetime” event has turned out to be more of a “what the hell was that all about?” event.[QQ] KPMG Int. is delighted with the outcome. Not only has it dodged a sizeable dollop of PR muck, but it has also managed to turn the entire event around to reinforce its “globalisation” message. CEO Paul Reilly said: “We are looking at how best to further integrate the Canadian firm into KPMG, as part of our continued globalisation initiative.” Well, that would be wise. To lose a consultancy once is unfortunate, a second time would, indeed, be careless.

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