Consultant accuses EY's consulting boss of sexual harassment

23 February 2023 4 min. read
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The Head of Greater China Business Consulting at EY has been accused of sexual harassment, according to local reports. The allegations are understood to come from a consultant in the Big Four firm’s Hong Kong office.

The corporate culture of EY in Asia and Oceania has come under further scrutiny, after an allegation of sexual harassment made by one of its employees in Hong Kong which has gone viral on social media.

An open letter addressed to EY’s senior management circulated online, which purported to be from a female employee at the firm. The letter claimed she and another colleague had been sexually harassed by a senior male manager, in the presence of her superior and several other staff.

Consultant accuses EY's consulting boss of sexual harassment

The letter has since been reported on by the South China Morning Post, and while the paper stated it could not “independently verify” the authenticity of the post, it did receive a statement from EY on the matter. The Big Four firm told the Post that it was aware of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct “against a number of EY personnel” circulating on social media, and that a report on the same matter had been received by the company.

The statement added, “We have immediately commenced a formal process of independent investigation into the matter… Any breach of [EY’s global code of conduct] will result in strong, decisive and proportionate disciplinary actions.”


In her letter addressed to “partners and leaders” of the firm, Nicole Wang, a Manager in the company’s Hong Kong supply chain and operations consulting team, stated her intent to report that Steven Xiong – a senior partner in Greater China – had sexually harassed her and a colleague.

On top of this, however, the letter named the director of her team, Hilbert Tsang, and senior manager, Florence Tang, before alleging they had used “female subordinates as sexual resources for the benefit of their superior,” on top of “workplace bullying behaviors including maliciously smearing and stigmatizing victims afterwards.”

The letter added, “Sexual harassment in the workplace is the unscrupulous bullying and trampling of subordinates by superiors using resources and power. Nowadays, the metoo movement is in full swing around the world, and the voices supporting women in society are deafening. As an executive who has worked in a top multinational auditing and consulting firm for more than ten years, they can use their power and position to make such indecent and shameless actions and make such indifferent and vicious remarks in public. It’s really shocking.”

Not the first time

In the wake of the release, EY also reiterated to the South China Morning Post that the firm has a zero-tolerance policy when it came to unethical behaviour. However, this is not the first time that EY has faced claims of a culture of abuse across its Asia and Oceania offices.

Published in November 2022, the company’s latest ‘EY Oceania Value Realised Scorecard’ – covering its Australia, New Zealand, Fiji and Papua New Guinea operations – showed 17 formal workplace investigations were conducted in the last financial year, up from 12 the year before. A majority of 13 of those were substantiated by the firm, in the year running up to the end of June 2022 – five of which were for sexual harassment, four for bullying, and the remainder with elements of bullying, harassment or sexual harassment.

At the same time, EY has been the subject of criticism for the pressures placed on its staff in its Hong Kong office specifically. In particular, one team leader in the office made global headlines for issuing orders to ‘work until 11.30pm every night, and at weekends' order. With workplace mental health an increasingly prominent issue in the professional services sector, it was not a message that was well-received.

EY is not the only one of the world’s largest audit and advisory firms struggling to improve its internal behaviour and cultures, though. Members of the Big Four have each faced a slew of scandals relating to staff injuries and drinking culture in recent years.

For example, PwC was recently taken to court by one staff member who endured a massive head trauma, having allegedly been pressured to drink on a team event, by a manager. At the same time, PwC and competitors KPMG also hosted ski retreats which culminated in allegations of sexual harassment by attending team members.