KPMG UAE split by partner infighting and coup attempt

Internal strife at KPMG has caused division in the United Arab Emirates, where the CEO narrowly escaped a putsch attempt after two senior partners raised governance issues and were later sacked.

According to current and former sources, the Lower Gulf business of the accounting firm was thrown into disarray last week as a number of partners prepared a secret vote to decide whether Nader Haffar, KPMG’s regional leader since 2018, had lost their support.

According to the insiders, Haffar would have been fired if three-quarters of the firm’s 60 partners said they no longer trusted him.

However, according to one of the people, the uprising’s momentum slowed on Friday, and the vote was cancelled. It appears that Nader has for the time being survived, the individual stated.

The executive committee of KPMG Lower Gulf included the two senior partners who lost their positions during the past month. Insiders claimed they had brought up possible conflicts of interest involving Talal Cheikh Elard, Haffar’s brother-in-law, who joined the company as a partner, head of clients and markets, and member of the executive committee last October. Further shocking the firm was the dismissal of a third senior partner.

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