The UK chairman of big four accountant KPMG has resigned after an investigation was launched into reported comments to staff that they should “stop moaning” about the impact of the pandemic on their lives.

Michael said in a statement on Friday: “I love the firm and I am truly sorry that my words have caused hurt amongst my colleagues and for the impact the events of this week have had on them. In light of that, I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm.”

Michael had stepped aside from his role earlier in the week, after the independent investigation was launched following the comments on an internal call being reported in the Financial Times newspaper.

A video of the comments was then obtained and published by the Mail Online, showing that Michael also described the concept of unconsious bias as being “complete and utter crap for years.”

KPMG said Bina Mehta, senior elected board member, and Mary O’Connor, head of clients and markets, have taken over Michael’s responsibilities on an acting basis.

The company said a leadership election for a permanent replacement would be held “in due course”.

Bill lives in the UK and was born in Australia, where his Greek and Cypriot immigrant parents brought him up in working-class Melbourne.

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