There has been a lot of fuss in the United Kingdom about a redundancy program of Big Four firm KPMG. The consulting firm asked 500 of its management consultants via email to dial in to a pre-recorded voicemail. Via this voicemail they were informed about a redundancy programme. The message mentioned the firing of dozens of senior managers and directors working in both the public and private sector. Several British journalists and politicians have openly criticised KPMG for its action, not so much for the outcome of the message but because of the impersonal method used to inform employees.
The KPMG voicemail was recorded by a senior partner, Julian Thomas. Several minutes into the voicemail, he raised the subject of job cuts, saying that management consultancy had a higher proportion of senior managers than other sections of KPMG. As a result, KPMG decided to fire several colleagues in consulting: “Unfortunately we are now in consultation with certain individuals at director and senior management level,” he said. According to Thomas the approach was considered appropriate: “This is a message going out to everybody corporates. The corporate business is facing a challenging market (…) we are performing substantially lower on profitability in comparison to last year. Therefore, we are forced to act appropriately.”
In a response to the fuss, a KPMG spokesman said: “All those who are at risk of redundancy were told personally and on a one-to-one basis.”