Look who’s back: Des Hudson

Former ICAS chief executive and sometimes arch-nemesis of the “English
institute” Des Hudson is back influencing the accountancy profession as chair of
the CIoT and ATT’s disciplinary board.

What’s happened?
Des Hudson certainly caused a bit of a stir during his tenure as chief executive
of ICAS.

In fact, even prior to that, he caused a stir. Lined up as the then next
chief executive of ACCA in 2006, he blew out the job to take up the top position
with ICAS.

ACCA appointed another strong personality, Allan Blewitt, in place of Anthea
Rose. But back to Hudson.

He served in what previous Accountancy Age editor Damian Wild described as a
“colourful two-year tenure”.

Hudson was extremely vocal about the ICAEW and CIPFA merger attempt ­ not so
much about the merger itself, but the proposed name change to the “Institute of
Chartered Accountants”.

Hudson vigorously objected to that strategy, and in a stroke of genius
enlisted Scottish first minister Jack McConnell to back the objection with a
complaint to the Privy Council. The council had the final say on whether the
name change could go ahead.

While the row was branded a “side issue” by the then ICAEW chief executive
Eric Anstee, it certainly muddied the waters of its merger campaign.

Hudson, a qualified solicitor, left ICAS to join the Law Society as chief. He
was formerly chief executive of Scottish Media Group’s publishing division and
MD of Britannia Life in Glasgow.

What’s going to happen?
Hudson will serve as chair of the CIOT and ATT’s Taxation Disciplinary Board
from 1 November, taking over from Vicki Harris.

CIoT president Andrew Hubbard lauded his appointment: “His stature and
experience will strengthen public confidence in the board’s independence and tax
professionals’ confidence in the fairness of the board’s proceedings.”

The board was set up eight years ago to deal with complaints and disciplinary
matters affecting members. Last year saw the introduction of a new disciplinary
scheme and regulations, enhancing the independence of the board, and an effort
to improve procedures.

Hudson is keen to stress to Accountancy Age that he is still very
much chief at the Law Society, and the TDB role is a traditional non-exec chair,
however, his “appetite was whetted” with the chance to work in accountancy

“I’ll be making sure the board discharges its obligations in a fearless way
[so it’s] cost efficient and commands confidence within the profession.”

The TDB is also looking to work with other accounting bodies looking to
improve their disciplinary processes, he reveals, so we might see him making
headlines in the accountancy press again soon.

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