Crunch time for anger-hit PwC

The summit follows a meeting in the UK last month called by consulting managing partner Lynton Barker, following circulation of a confidential memo obtained by Accountancy Age, that detailed a crisis in morale and financial performance in PwC’s management consultancy practice.

The memo, which Barker describes as a ‘call to arms’, also pointed to the continuing rift between Price Waterhouse and Coopers & Lybrand cultures.

According to a document prepared by Liz Brown, PwC’s head of people and knowledge, the problem was ‘systemic’.

The paper said: ‘Frighteningly not only do we still have the P and C cultures alive, kicking and often not co-operating but… we are inculcating our true PwC joiners with one or other depending on the local partner group they join.’

It added: ‘It’s no wonder 13% of our people leave us in the first year.’ Other issues included ‘suppressed anger’, inconsistency in managing work/life balances and poor communications.

According to a spokesman, the UK meeting, held on 13 March, did not vote on any action plan. But in his memo, Barker said he would take ideas from the firm’s proposed new direction to an international meeting in Florida. The spokesman was unable to confirm timing or other details.

The crisis came as the firm continued with its legal separation of the consultancy division, to be completed this summer, masterminded in the UK by senior partner Kieran Poynter. The move is being made in preparation for a trade sale or flotation.


Read the full text of the memo here.

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