The drunken Big Four partners who are paid $1m+
Managing directors in investment banks are not immune to accusations of bad behaviour. Take the MDs at Santander, who visited a strip club with juniors earlier this year. Or, Citi managing director Jan Skarbek, who resigned in August after allegedly making an inappropriate comment concerning love and affection to a junior during an offsite.
However, the occasional incidents of bad behaviour in banking are eclipsed by the far more frequent eruptions of inappropriateness at Big Four firms. The latest of these, reported in the Financial Times today, concerns Stephen Cahill, one of 25 vice chairmen at Deloitte in London, a partner, and the head of Deloitte's UK executive compensation practice.
Cahill is reportedly leaving/retiring from Deloitte after a trip to the Ascot horse races with 30 Deloitte colleagues in June, at which he allegedly engaged in a 'heavily inebriated' 30-minute 'drunken tirade' that touched upon everything from sexism to racism. A spokeswoman for Deloitte said: “Stephen Cahill is retiring from Deloitte. We don't have any comment on Stephen’s retirement.” He joined the firm 14 years ago.
As a partner, Cahill will have been amply rewarded. The Financial Times reported in September that average partner pay per head at Deloitte was £1m last year. By retiring rather than resigning or being fired, he is unlikely to forfeit any pay.
Cahill's exit after the Ascot outing might be considered an anomaly, were it not for the fact that similar things have happened before. Neil Hutt, an EY partner who'd worked for the firm for 16 years and who ran the transaction support team for the firm in the UK, resigned in November 2021 after an incident on a company ski trip, in which he addressed a junior female employee who was having drinks after lunch and informed her that he intended to "f***" her later that afternoon.
Combined with other recent incidents, including the tragic case of Michael Brockie, a 28-year-old PWC audit manager who lost a large portion of his brain following a fall after a drunken work outing, and the death of Aishwarya Venkatachalam, a junior at EY in Sydney, who killed herself after drinking with colleagues, the partner infractions reinforce the impression that something is awry. It might be considered that senior staff at the Big Four are setting a bad example for vulnerable juniors.
It doesn't help that, faced with evidence of partners' inappropriateness, both Deloitte and EY appear to have been slow to react. Deloitte conducted an internal investigation after Cahill's Ascot outburst, but this is not being linked to his departure. EY initially allowed Hutt to remain in employment after fining him £75k and asking him to attend some diversity and inclusiveness training.
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