Michael Izza: safe hands or missed opportunity?

In the case of Michael Izza the jury will be out for a while. After all, Izza
was the internal candidate in 2003 when Eric Anstee was appointed chief
executive. He didn’t get the job then because it was felt he didn’t have enough

Anstee was obviously someone who would never shirk a fight, even though with
hindsight people found this gift to be a mixed blessing.

This time around the talk was that what the institute wanted was an FD, a
City figure or a Big Four senior partner ­ someone with a top-level network and
an ability to carry the day with charisma.

Instead, Izza is a safe pair of hands. He is respected. As chief operating
officer he did the tough stuff in the figures. Redundancies were handled in an
honest way. But can he step up to the plate?

There was speculation that CIMA’s chief executive, Charles Tilley, might have
been in the frame. He is an upfront bruiser. Izza is not. He must put his
personality on the line and to build profile.

The challenges ahead are not easy. The pipeline of upcoming presidents is not
stuffed with people used to the senior regulatory and government networks. Izza
will have to do the real legwork.

And there is the hoary old problem of consolidation. Mergers may be the way
forward, but there is no point, for a couple of years at least, in annoying the

Izza needs to combine quiet backroom work with forthright ambassadorial work
on public issues. It will not be easy ­ but second chances are often more
eagerly grasped.

Robert Bruce is a leading commentator on accountancy issues

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