Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years at Ernst & Young has resigned after being reprimanded for making obscene remarks to a colleague

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years at Ernst & Young has resigned after being reprimanded for making obscene remarks to a colleague

A partner at a Big Four accounting firm has resigned his position after he was reprimanded for telling a female trainee ‘I am going to f*** you’ on a company ski trip.

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, was found to have behaved in an ‘obscene and aggressive’ fashion when he made the remark to a junior colleague, a disciplinary by the sector’s governing body found.

Despite the fact that he was found guilty, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England & Wales decided not to strike him off because he did not risk repeating his behavior.

However, the Panel’s Report has been made public and Mr Hutt has resigned with immediate effect. 

In an email seen by MailOnline and sent to the company’s employees, Ernst & Young’s UK Chair Hywell Ball said he was upset that employees’ trust in the firm ‘had been damaged’.

While he maintained that everyone in the leadership team was committed to making the workplace safe and welcoming, he admitted that this incident shows they have much to do.

A spokesman for Ernst & Young said: ‘We can confirm that Neil Hutt has offered his resignation from EY UK LLP, which has been accepted and takes place with immediate effect.’ 

After the 2019 incident, Neil Hutt received a reprimand and a financial sanction from the company. 

According to the panel, the female trainee was’shocked’ and ‘disappointed’ by the remarks of the 51-year old on an annual EY skiing trip for staff and partners.

Following an investigation in which he said he had ‘taken a joke too far’ the partner was fined £75,000 by the firm but kept his job after agreeing to attend diversity and inclusiveness training.

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, has been allowed to keep his job after a panel found to he behaved in an 'obscene and aggressive' fashion towards a junior colleague

Neil Hutt, a partner of 16 years with Ernst & Young, has been allowed to keep his job after a panel found to he behaved in an ‘obscene and aggressive’ fashion towards a junior colleague

At the hearing it was stated that Hutt, who qualified in accounting in 1992, became a partner with EY in 2005.

He is based in Reading, Berks and leads the EY Transaction Support Team for the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors.

EY organized a ski trip in January 2019 for partners and staff, which became an annual tradition for the company.

The trainee accountant was also present, although he had not previously had any contact with Hutt.

Panel members were told by the trainee that he was talking with a colleague during lunch one day of the trip.

Hearing this, the tribunal was shocked to hear that Mr Hutt spoke up and asked: “What’s your afternoon?” Because I’m going to f*** you. And then I’m going to f*** [another colleague].’

Tribunal heard that trainee was “shocked” and “disappointed” by the remarks but she attempted to suppress her emotions.

While the rest of the group was enjoying lunch, the trainee began to discuss an earlier incident where she was “bashed” from behind by snowboarders.

Mr Hutt interjected and stated: “Ha ha, that’s so funny! I’m going to be bashing you behind your back this afternoon!”

She tried to avoid the comments, but she found them offensive and disturbing.

EY carried out an internal investigation. The female trainee was uncomfortable with the process and had to recall what senior employees said.

Panelists were told that ‘increasing gossips in the office left her feeling alone, and public attention about the incident had significantly raised her shame and embarrassment to the point where she found it difficult to come into work.

Mr Hutt told a disciplinary panel he had taken a joke too far. The panel found that his behaviour was aggravated by 'the extreme difference in age and seniority' at Ernst and Young (pictured)

An investigation panel was told by Mr Hutt that he’d taken the joke too far. His behavior was made worse by Ernst and Young’s extreme seniority and age (pictured).

In February 2019, Mr Hutt participated in an internal investigation.

He admitted using the words alleged by the female trainee, except he thought he had said ‘shag’ rather than ‘f***’.

He acknowledged that he took the joke to far, that it was stupid and said so. Finally, he expressed his regret at what had transpired and admitted that he felt embarrassed.

On March 19, 2019, the firm issued Mr Hutt an ultimative written warning, as well as a financial punishment.

Also, the order was given to him to participate in diversity and inclusivity training as well as to accept to advocate for firm’s culture improvement.

After a hearing held in July, the ICAEW found Hutt guilty for misconduct.

Rosalind Wright, QC, the chair of the disciplinary Tribunal, stated that the misconduct was made worse by an extreme age difference and seniority. In these circumstances, the behavior amounted to abuse of position and power.

“The Tribunal found that the allegations were both offensive and aggressive.

“Egregious behavior of this nature is not appropriate in the profession. The Tribunal carefully considers whether it should be. [Mr Hutt’s]His conduct made it impossible for him to remain a member in good standing of the profession.

Had Tribunal considered that the risk of repetition was high, they would have had no choice but to exclude him from the ICAEW.

The Tribunal was satisfied, on balance, that severe reprimanding would be sufficient to protect the public interest. [Mr Hutt]And imposing a financial sanction.

The tribunal fined Mr Hutt £7,000 and ordered him to pay legal costs of £4,895.

MailOnline was previously told by a spokesperson for Ernst and Young that it had been a serious incident, which they investigated and led to EY imposing sanctions.

These matters are taken seriously by EY and we will pursue any individual found to have violated our codes and values.

The email sent to staff by Hywell Ball added: ‘I want to be clear: inappropriate behaviour, when reported, is always investigated and sanctions applied, regardless of rank or role.’