Embattled KPMG executive caught up in sex scandal

08 April 2016 Consultancy.uk

Another scandal has rocked Netherlands-based KPMG’s Dutch sister firm KPMG Meijburg. According to a Dutch newspaper, De Telegraaf, an executive of the firm’s was involved in a sex scandal during a ski trip with colleagues. The director has resigned.

According to De Telegraaf, sourced from a leak within the company, the scandal centres around Wiebe Cnossen (50), who until recently was CFO of KPMG Meijburg (a sister company of KPMG). Two colleagues were said to have been molested by Cnossen in recent months, after which an internal complaint procedure was begun against him.

The incident allegedly took place during a ski weekend in Austria. During a night out a young tax adviser, who had been at the firm for three years, suddenly become unwell. "The next day she woke up in a bedroom with Wiebe Cnossen, and no longer had her bra on", someone close to the incident told the newspaper. Some insiders close to the matter suggest that her drink may have been spiked. During the same ski trip, Cnossen is also said to have sexually intimidated a secretary who works at Meijburg’s Rotterdam office, by among others sending her an SMS with an indecent proposal.

A spokesman for the professional services firm said that, in relation to privacy, the identity of those involved in the incident will not be disclosed. The executive who was allegedly involved has, according to the spokesperson, "behaved towards his female colleagues in a way that is contrary to the example that ought to be upheld by partners." KPMG Meijburg has hired an external party to scrutinise the situation further.

In February this year Cnossen stepped down from his role of Chief Financial Officer of KPMG Meijburg*. The firm at the time did not disclose the reason for Cnossen’s resignation; the spokesperson, following the latest recent leak, continues to provide no comment – whether there is a link between his resignation and the sex scandal is neither confirmed nor denied.

Cnossen was already in hot water at KPMG Meijburg, because a consultant at the firm, of Moroccan origin, accused the CFO of aggression and discrimination in the workplace.

The consultancy says: "The board of KPMG Meijburg sincerely regrets that the events, in so far as they have been established, have taken place, as well as the unsettling consequences for the colleagues involved.”

* The administration of the Dutch Chamber of Commerce show that Cnossen has resigned at Meijburg per 1 February 2016.

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