The head of KPMG’s business in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has said the firm will rerun the election for his position, and bring in an external law firm to oversee the process, after partners attempted a coup aimed at ousting him from the firm.
The election rerun comes after two senior partners at KPMG Lower Gulf were fired from their jobs after raising concerns about perceived conflicts-of-interest involving the firm’s chief executive, Nader Haffar, and the appointment of his brother-in-law Talal Cheik Elard to an executive position in the firm.
The coup saw partners hold a secret ballot to determine whether Haffar had lost the confidence of his partners, according to The Financial Times, as they raised governance concerns around an election that extended Haffar’s tenure as chief executive by an extra five years in which the chief executive faced no opposition.
At the time, partners feared they may be subject to retaliation if they failed to approve Haffar’s re-election, amid concerns the election would not be entirely anonymous, the FT reported. Partners were given little notice of the vote and Haffar faced no opposition.
KPMG’s UAE division is now set to rerun the election and bring in an external law firm to oversee the electoral process and review the firm’s internal governance. However, current and former partners have raised concerns the election rerun is an attempt on the part of Haffar to retain his current position as they suggested the company chief executive may face no opposition.
KPMG has been approached for comment.