The real story behind David Collard’s departure from PwC

Exclusive: The CEO and founder of scandal plagued Scale Facilitation left PwC in circumstances he’d prefer to keep under wraps.

Sean Johnson

David Collard and our clueless Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles

The Deputy Prime Minister’s good friend and favourite entrepreneur David Collard boasts he was the youngest ever partner at PwC’s New York office.

According to Collard’s LinkedIn profile, he started at PwC in Melbourne in 2004 as a trainee accountant before moving to New York in 2011, and by 2017 was made partner in the firm’s banking and capital markets practice. At the tender age of 32.

But less than two years later he left the firm. Thirteen years climbing the corporate ladder to become a partner in the Big Apple, then gone in a flash.

Richard Marles's message to Collard following drinks in London. First published in The Australian, which revealed the two regularly dine together and communicate via the encrypted Signal app.

Origin story

By Collard’s telling in a softball interview with the Financial Review in April, he “ditched” PwC in 2019 after a colleague told him PwC would never make an Australian the global head of the firm.

A hagiography of Collard on Scale Facilitation’s website, no doubt authored by Collard, explains his departure this way: “a desire to always be challenged saw David take his biggest, yet calculated risk in 2019 when he withdrew from his partner position with PwC, to pursue his entrepreneurial passion.”

But this origin story is as false as Collard’s promises to pay Scale’s long suffering staff, creditors, and landlords.

Several people who worked with him at PwC have told Open Politics that the firm asked him to resign in 2019 after an internal investigation upheld complaints from multiple employees about his conduct towards them.

The investigation also uncovered other serious concerns about Collard’s behaviour and interactions with staff.

Open Politics is aware of the specific nature of the complaints and other aspects of Collard’s conduct, but we have chosen not to publish them at this time.

We put the allegations to PwC US, but a spokesperson said, “we are not going to comment.” Collard did not respond to our email.

As for being the youngest ever partner in the New York office, our sources say this is made up too: they are aware of other employees appointed partners at a younger age.

Collard pretending a promotional (paid) article about Scale subsidiary re-open in the NY Post is a real story. Photo: Twitter

Collard’s former colleagues remember him instead as a “conman”, “embarrassment” and “weirdo”, and say the Scale Facilitation scandal has not come as a shock.

"I'm far from surprised to see how things are turning out for him and the fraud that is Scale Facilitation. . . I’m amazed it has gone this far," one said. Another noted: "The whole thing has been a house of cards from the beginning."

Indeed it has been. How did the Deputy Prime Minister and the Financial Review fall for this guy? Collard is not the only person with questions to answer.

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