KPMG South Africa shuts down running club as part of cutbacks

14 September 2018 2 min. read
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The casualties of KPMG’s damage control efforts in South Africa continue are still emerging, the latest being the global professional services firm’s Running Club, which it has now shut down. The firm announced that the decision was a “challenging” one, but it would not renew its sponsorship of the club.

In 2015, Big Four accounting and advisory firm KPMG made the decision to promote a fit and healthy lifestyle amongst its employees through the launch of a KPMG Running Club. The club was part of then CEO Trevor Hoole’s #Fitforbusiness initiative, which sought to make employee wellness an integral part of the firm’s development moving forward.

To this end, the firm enrolled running clubs with Athletics South Africa, offering its employees the chance to participate in athletics, road running, cross country and trail running across Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban and Polokwane.

The club has had a long list of prestigious collaborations since its establishment, including with Olympian Elana Meyer’s distance running and endurance sports academy Endurocad. The academy offered top expertise to the KPMG Running Club, which registered seven international athletes to run for its own team.

KPMG South Africa shuts down running club as part of cutbacks

Other advisors to the club included Arnold Geerdts, who offered Comrade Marathon talks to professionals about the fundamentals of successful training efforts, and the application of identical principles in the business environment. The club was affiliated with the Elite Athletes and Development Squad, as well as Vorentoe Running Academy.

The club’s development has now come to a premature end, however, as part of KPMG's efforts to cut back on its scale of operations in South Africa. The firm was rocked by a scandal last year, when ties were exposed between the firm and the Gupta family that had been leveraging political contacts to win major business contracts.

KPMG South Africa underwent comprehensive restructuring processes last year, including new appointments in most senior positions all the way up to the senior levels. Nevertheless, the steady stream of clients terminating their contracts with KPMG prompted the firm to announce major cuts in its budget and personnel. The Running Club is the latest casualty of this policy.

Commenting on the shutting down of the club, KPMG South Africa’s Chief Operating Officer Gavin de Lange said, “his has been a challenging period for the firm and we have had to make some hard decisions in an attempt to ensure that KPMG is fit for purpose and operating on a sustainable footing.”