The chairman of KPMG in the UK has resigned after reportedly telling staff they should "stop moaning" about worries over cuts to their benefits during Covid-19.

Bill Michael will step down from the audit giant at the end of the month after claims about details of what he said during a conference call on Monday were revealed.

"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," the 52-year-old Australian said.

"In light of that, I regard my position as untenable and so I have decided to leave the firm.

"It has been a privilege to have acted as chair of KPMG. I feel hugely proud of all our people and the things they have achieved, particularly during these very challenging times."

The decision to leave the company comes two days after Mr Michael stepped aside while KPMG carried out an investigation into claims about his remarks.

HeraldScotland: The value of exports to the US, traditionally the industry’s most lucrative market, fell from more than £1 billion in 2019 to £729m.The value of exports to the US, traditionally the industry’s most lucrative market, fell from more than £1 billion in 2019 to £729m.

Whisky exports plunge to lowest level in a decade

Scotch whisky exports tumbled to their lowest level in a decade in 2020 as the ongoing effects of coronavirus and US import tariffs took their toll on overseas sales.

READ MORE: Figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association today reveal that exports plunged by fell by more than £1.1 billion, or 23 per cent, to £3.8bn last year. The number of 70cl bottles shipped dropped by 13% to the equivalent of 1.14 billion.

HeraldScotland: Graeme Roy. Picture by Gordon TerrisGraeme Roy. Picture by Gordon Terris

Opinion: Rishi Sunak must prioritise economic recovery

In just over a fortnight, Rishi Sunak will deliver his second UK Budget. You’ll recall that last March, with the public health crisis spiralling out of control, his Budget forecasts were consigned to the dustbin before he had even arrived at the House of Commons to give his statement.

READ MORE: A targeted package of investment suddenly became a £30 billion emergency fund for the NHS and the economy.

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