Thursday 11 February 2021 1:47 pm

KPMG’s embattled chairman: ‘Unconscious bias is complete crap’

KPMG UK chairman Bill Michael has been caught on camera describing unconscious bias as “complete crap”, in the same video call he told staff to stop moaning about pandemic working conditions.

Earlier this week Michael was forced to step aside from his leadership position at the Big Four firm, after it was revealed he had made insensitive comments to consultants in a virtual meeting on Monday.

Read more: KPMG UK chair steps down after telling staff to ‘stop moaning’

The video of Michael making the comments has since been leaked to the MailOnline, where Michael can be seen dismissing unconscious bias as “complete crap”, and saying that nothing has been achieved as a result of unconscious bias training.

He said: “I don’t think this point of, what do you call it? Unconscious bias. I think unconscious bias is complete crap. 

“Complete and utter crap for years. There is no such thing as unconscious bias. I don’t buy it. Because after every single unconscious bias training that’s ever been done nothing’s ever improved. 

“So unless you care, you actually won’t change. And I think there’s a lot more care, more generally, to change.”

Read more: KPMG chairman ‘sorry’ for telling staff to ‘stop moaning’ about working conditions

Unconscious bias training programmes are designed to expose people to their implicit biases, with the goal of stamping out discriminatory or prejudice behaviours.

Michael, who earned £1.7m last year at KPMG, apologised for telling staff to stop moaning about their pay and pandemic working conditions.

“I am sorry for the words I used,” he said, “which did not reflect what I believe in, and I have apologised to my colleagues.”  

Staff at KPMG has been working from home since the start of the pandemic. Partners at the firm saw their salaries cut by 11 per cent because of coronavirus, to around £572,000 down from circa £640,000 the previous year.

City A.M. has contacted KPMG for comment.