PwC Australia flags governance overhaul following tax leak scandal

By Lewis Jackson

SYDNEY (Reuters) – PwC Australia will appoint outsiders to its board and publish audited financial statements as part of a governance overhaul to bring the partnership closer to public company standards following a scandal over the leak of confidential tax documents.

The “big four” professional services firm has been embroiled in a national scandal since revelations in January that a former partner leaked confidential government tax plans to colleagues which were then used that to drum up work with global clients.

Months of outrage have forced out 12 partners, including the chief executive, prompted public and private sector clients to freeze ties and entangled clients Google, Uber and Facebook.

PwC Australia will announce plans on Wednesday to apply some Australian Stock Exchange governance principles including appointing two non-executive directors and a non-executive chair to its board, according to excerpts of plans provided by PwC.

The firm will also publish audited financial statements from September 2025.

“From the top down we are committed to rebuilding and re-earning the trust of our stakeholders,” chief executive Kevin Burrowes is expected to say.

The changes form part of PwC Australia’s response to a months-long independent review into its governance and culture, which will be published in full on Wednesday.

The review by former Telstra CEO Ziggy Switkowski was announced in May by the firm. The terms of reference made public in July excluded historic actions.

Investigations by external law firms into the leaks and conduct of PwC employees have also been commissioned, however the firm has not committed to making them public.

Australia said last month it would drastically toughen penalties against those who promote dodgy tax schemes and strengthen regulators in response to the scandal. A separate police investigation is still underway.

(Reporting by Lewis Jackson; Editing by Kim Coghill)