Top 50 financial power list 2005

There are challenging times ahead for accountancy in 2005 with regulation,
international standards and auditor liability high on the agenda. Accountancy
Age identifies the Top 50 movers and shakers to look out for as the issues

1. Sir David Tweedie

Chairman of the IASB

Sir David Tweedie will not be resting on his laurels following his
Accountancy Age Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Profession. He has yet
to resolve the sticky issues surrounding IAS39 to make Europe’s listed
companies’ accounts truly comparable. Aside from this, Sir David will have his
hands full with a comprehensive overhaul of accounting in the insurance
industry, and the small matter of convergence with the US. He remains the most
influential figure in the profession.

2. Mary Keegan

Partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers

Keegan, former chairman of the UK Accounting Standards Board and partner at
PricewaterhouseCoopers, was always meant for bigger things. Now that the
national accounting standards boards have been overshadowed by the IASB, her new
position as head of the government accountancy service is the perfect next step
for the the ambitious, intellectually hardy Keegan. She now has responsibility
for accountability in public finance, and acts as the Treasury’s finance

3. Charlie McCreevy

European commissioner for internal market and services

Replacing Frits Bolkestein in the new commission late last year, the Irishman
will be ultimately responsible for the introduction of IFRS in Europe. As well
as hoping that the groundwork laid out by his predecessor doesn’t make life
difficult, it will be down to him to broker an agreement between the commission
and the IASB over IAS39, while keeping Europe’s banks happy. Perhaps a fresh
face will give this debate new impetus.

4. David Varney

Chairman of HM Revenue and Customs

The £75m merger and successful integration of the Inland Revenue and Customs
& Excise to form HM Revenue and Customs will be the biggest challenge the
public sector and new executive chairman David Varney have ever seen. Not only
is Varney overseeing its finances, efficiency and transparency, he will have to
keep a close watch on the £3bn Capgemini-led ‘Aspire’ outsourcing contract, and
the new Small Business Unit that will align the management of corporation tax
and VAT.

5. Peter Montagnon

Head of investment affairs at the Association of British Insurers

As one of the figureheads of the investment community, Montagnon will be
heavily involved in the debate on changes to auditor liability and, more
specifically, the additional responsibilities investors believe auditors should
assume to deserve more protection. Following a meeting late last year, things
seem to be progressing smoothly, but Montagnon must ensure the current
agreements are not derailed by unnecessary argument.

6. Gordon Brown

Chancellor of the Exchequer

It could be a make-or-break year for Gordon Brown, depending on the outcome
of the general election. But one thing is for sure – it is now clear the
chancellor is the one pulling the strings on whether auditors get more
protection in the form of proportionate liability. Last year, the prime
minister-in-waiting put a block on a cap when everyone involved, including trade
secretary Patricia Hewitt, thought it was a done deal. If auditors get anything
at all this year, it will only be if Brown gives the green light.

7. Helen Weir

Financial director of LloydsTSB

Helen Weir is not simply a powerful figure in the financial services
industry. Amid cries for more diversity – and particularly more women – on the
boards of UK plc, the finance director of LloydsTSB forms part of a new cohort
of female directors. She is also one of just 13 female FDs in the FTSE100. But
her appointment is far from tokenism. Weir, 41, joined from Kingfisher earlier
this year, has an MBA from Stanford University, California and was a consultant
at McKinsey.

8. Suzanne Wood

Head of CFO practice at Heidrick & Struggles

Suzanne Wood could well be the busiest member of the Top 50 over the next 12
months. As head of the CFO practice at one of the biggest global executive
headhunters in the world, Wood’s skills will be put to the test keeping an eye
on the third of the FTSE100 FDs aged 50 or over. But with 20 years’ experience
in executive recruitment already in the bag, her credentials are unquestioned.
Anyone who gets a call from her could appear on next year’s list.

9. Chris Dickson

Executive counsel of the Joint Disciplinary Scheme

The JDS is being run down and its work will be taken over by a new body, but
Dickson still has plenty to do, not least the examination of Ernst &
Young’s conduct as auditor of Equitable Life. The JDS report detailing concerns
with 11 consecutive audits at Equitable has undoubtedly undermined the firm’s
case as its High Court battle over damages nears.

10. Michel Pébereau

President of the European Banking Federation

Throughout the past year, the EBF has been instrumental in bending the ear of
the European Commission over its concerns on IAS39. This will continue into
2005, as both sides look set to negotiate an acceptable solution. As chairman of
BNP Paribas and the French Banking Association, Pébereau is right in the eye of
the storm, with French banks the most outraged over the standard.

11. Iain Richards

Head of governance and public policy at Morley Fund Management

Richards has been one of the key players in the continuing arguments over
auditor liability. Representing a company that manages £118bn of shareholder
funds, and a keen proponent of shareholder activism, he needs to ensure those
funds are properly protected from corporate irresponsibility. Expect any move to
undermine safeguards to be fiercely opposed.

12. Jacqui Smith

Minister for the department of trade

With the prospect of an auditor liability cap hanging in the balance, Jacqui
Smith has left the audit profession guessing and the business community
seething. Following months of wrangling, she is still wrestling with a deal that
would see proportionate liability by contract for auditors in return for greater
transparency and increased responsibility.

13. Jon Symonds

Chairman of the Hundred Group of FDs

In his dual role as chairman of the Hundred Group of FDs, for the second year
running, and CFO of AstraZeneca, Symonds continues to be the most influential
finance chief in the UK. Through his work with AstraZeneca, he is also one of
the most powerful private sector voices on the implementation of IFRS. He
remains a crucial figure in the standards rollout.

14. Andrew Higginson

FD of Tesco

Higginson received one of the biggest bonuses among the FTSE100 FDs at a
staggering £1m. That’s a cool £1m behind Peter Clarke of Man Group, but
Higginson has the opportunity to make a much bigger difference to consumers’
weekly shop. Expect the battle of the supermarkets to continue into 2005 and
Higginson to be in the vanguard.

15. Zarin Patel

Group FD of the BBC

As the BBC’s finance director, Patel has her hands full. The Beeb has just
announced a job cull that will affect the finance function, and a recent Ernst
& Young report on the BBC’s financial controls was concluded last month –
thankfully E&Y didn’t come down to hard on the broadcaster, and even
welcomed Patel’s appointment.

16. Sir Christopher Bland

Chairman of the BT Group

He’s not a finance man, but Sir Christopher Bland may have launched the most
significant salvo yet against the US’s Securities and Exchange Commission. Sir
Christopher said that, if it could, BT would de-list because of the monumental
rise in cost. The implication that the US markets are no longer the sought-after
place to list may well have accelerated the SEC’s rethink of its approach.

17. Nick Land

Chairman of Ernst & Young UK

The doomsday scenario of 2005 as the year the Big Four becomes the Big Three
may give Ernst & Young’s Nick Land sleepless nights. A trial date to hear
Equitable’s £2.6bn negligence claim is set for April, and Land has admitted that
his firm, currently the UK’s fourth largest, risks collapse. It may not come to
that – an out-of-court settlement could offer a way out.

18. Ken Hydon

FD of Vodafone

Despite announcing his intention to retire from the position of FD at
Vodafone in July, Ken Hydon remains one of the most prolific holders of
non-executive roles in the country. This is no accident. As the requirements of
Sarbanes-Oxley increase, so too does the premium on financial numeracy and the
demand for FDs to serve in an advisory capacity. Hydon also holds non-exec
positions at Tesco and Reckitt Benckiser.

19. Douglas Flint

FD of HSBC and chairman of the Turnbull Review The Turnbull guidance on
improving internal control will be one of the defining documents for the
profession in 2005. Douglas Flint will be key to how effectively it is delivered
to the business community. As well as being the FD for banking giant HSBC, Flint
will be hearing evidence of how well the guidance has worked, how it might be
enhanced and how the UK’s overall business performance can be bettered.

20. Neil Wood

FD of the London 2012 Olympic Bid

With Paris emerging as the bookies favoured Olympics venue, Neil Wood may
have to pull a rabbit out of the hat to prove London is the most financially
viable option. Decision day is on 6 July in Singapore, so Wood and co will be
working flat out until this then. If London manages to pull off the unlikely,
then Wood, currently seconded from Deloitte, could himself be favourite as FD
for the games.

21. John Connolly

Deloitte chief executive and UK senior partner

The outspoken John Connolly raised a few eyebrows in 2004 by claiming he
‘didn’t really care’ whether his firm leapfrogged PricewaterhouseCoopers to
become the UK’s number one firm. With a £2.9m wage packet, Connolly is the
country’s highest-paid accountant and – despite his words – would be delighted
for his firm to join him in pole position.

22. Dr John Buchanan

Chairman of AstraZeneca’s audit committee

Dr John Buchanan is already an important man. Take into account his extensive
background in senior financial positions with BP, plus his directorship at BHP
Billiton and position as ‘financial expert’ on Vodafone’s audit committee, and
you have someone with enormous influence.

23. Tim Bush

Associate director at Hermes Focus Asset Management

Hermes is another important investor heavily involved in the auditor
liability debate. While Bush represents a company managing funds worth £47bn, he
is also a chartered accountant, has a seat on the ICAEW council and is a former
employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers. As a result, he can see both sides of the
argument. He has sympathy for the auditors but knows shareholders must be
protected. He could be crucial in finding a compromise.

24. William Donaldson

Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission

As chairman of the US watchdog, Donaldson has one of the most powerful roles
on the international finance scene. In his second year in charge, he will have
to work even harder, particularly if non-US listed companies continue to
threaten to de-list due to the costs and burdens of regulation. If he can
restore investor and industry confidence, he could have a very good 2005.

25. William McDonough

Chairman of the PCAOB

William McDonough has made few friends in the world of accountancy since
assuming his post as chairman of the influential PCAOB. If US or UK companies
find any discrepancies with work on the infamous section 404 of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, McDonough will be the man to face.

26. Steve Lamey

Chief information officer of HM Revenue and Customs

Accountants everywhere will be bracing themselves for disaster when the
Revenue and Customs integrate their IT systems. It could mean the difference
between stress-free tax returns and stomach ulcers. Steve Lamey has a proven
track record as CIO at BG Group, and his appointment has been widely praised by
those in the IT industry.

27. Sir Bryan Nicholson

Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council

As chairman of the FRC for the last three years, as well as having overall
responsibility for five bodies including the APB, ASB, FRRP, IDB and the POB,
Sir Bryan has a powerful and influential regulatory kingdom. The full rollout of
IFRS in the UK and the EU is less than a week old, and Sir Bryan will have a
crucial 12 months promoting confidence in corporate reporting and governance.

28. Kevin Hart

FD of Cairn Energy

He’s young, ambitious and has just become one of the youngest finance
directors in the FTSE100. Kevin Hart became a man to watch when stratospheric
rises in Cairn’s share price put it among the UK’s elite businesses. But Hart
doesn’t have an accountancy qualification, a rarity in such a high-profile
position – the 36-year-old learned on the job during his 10 years in investment

29. Lawrence Ricciardi

Chairman of Shell Oil’s audit committee

Perhaps an unfamiliar name, Ricciardi’s former roles as president of Nabisco
and CFO of IBM in the US, will be vital in his job at Royal Dutch/Shell. All
eyes will be firmly on the conduct of Shell’s board after 2004, which saw it
restate oil reserve prices and damage its reputation following grave lapses in
corporate governance procedures. Ricciardi must ensure the oil giant is whiter
than white.

30. Cameron Scott

Executive counsel of the Investigation and Discipline Board

Previously a solicitor, it was a case of poacher-turned-gamekeeper when
Cameron Scott took over as head of the UK’s all-new disciplinary body for
accountants in 2004. In July, the AIDB started its first investigation into
bus-maker Mayflower and its subsidiaries. How Scott handles his increasing case
load will be carefully watched, given his pledge to put a stop to ‘delays and

31. Jason Donovan

Film and TV star

OK, this is a tad mischevious, but it is entirely possible that Jason Donovan
could have some influence. He plays a forensic accountant in a drama, Loot,
penned by the ACCA’s chief executive Allen Blewitt. It’s been aired in Australia
and is waiting for UK release. What Ally McBeal did for lawyers, Donovan may
well do for accountants.

32. Mike Rake

Chairman of KPMG International

Mike Rake will look to build on last year’s successes by displaying KPMG’s
green credentials when he takes over as chairman of Business in the Community.
His firm has already taken the honour of Big Four Firm of the Year at 2004’s
Accountancy Age Awards for its success in combining a strong CSR agenda with
profitable business.

33. Kieran Poynter

Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers

Kieran Poynter is one of the UK’s best-paid accountants, and will be expected
to earn his keep in this issue-packed year. PwC will be looking to recruit staff
qualified to keep clients up to speed with a welter of rules and regulations.
And if that’s not enough, Deloitte will want to capture the number one spot.

34. The ICAEW, CIMA and CIPFA chief executives

Only one man may be left standing by the end of the year, if a merger of the
institutes headed up by Charles Tilley, Steve Freer and Eric Anstee takes place.
All three chief executives will have achieved much if they manage to push the
merger through in the face of stiff opposition. But only one person can take the
helm of the 200,000-strong ‘super institute’.

35. Desmond Hudson

Chief executive of ICAS

This year, Desmond Hudson faces a major challenge to reposition the Scottish
institute in a landscape that – he assumes – will be changed by the merger of
the ICAEW, CIMA and CIPFA. Hudson must make the case that bigger isn’t
necessarily better.

36. Microsoft’s accounting module

Microsoft is looking to redefine the business software marketplace, albeit at
a relatively pedestrian pace. Having bought Navision and Great Plains a couple
of years back, it has now introduced an entry-level accounting software module
into Microsoft Office.

37. Bill Hughes

Director general of SOCA

When accountants make their suspicious transaction reports in the future,
they’ll be handled by the UK’s new FBI-style Serious Organised Crime Agency.
SOCA will tackle organised crime such as money laundering and take over from
NCIS in April 2006.

38. Group Litigation Order

Group litigation orders – or legal actions – from hundreds of the world’s
best-known companies are turning into the Inland Revenue’s greatest nightmare.
The series of group legal actions by big names including Coca-Cola and IBM could
cost the Treasury as much as £20bn in tax refunds.

39. Paul Boyle

CEO of the Financial Reporting Council

Paul Boyle has a critical year ahead of him – to get across the FRC’s message
of promoting confidence in corporate reporting and governance. The FRC’s reach
is unusual in that it extends from auditing and reporting to disciplinaries and
investigation. If it’s successful, this unique regulatory model could put
Boyle’s name firmly on the map.

40. Jacques Chirac

President of France

Last year, Jacques Chirac made his mark on the accountancy world by arguing
over the ‘failings’ of the IFRS on financial instruments. He is the only leader
in the EU, and indeed the world, to take such a close interest. Chirac’s efforts
were successful for French banks – the EU agreed to a ‘carved-out’ IAS39.

41. Allen Blewitt

Chief executive of the ACCA

It may be a unfair to place Jason Donovan way above his screenwriting
colleague Allen Blewitt, but the relatively new ACCA chief has still to prove
himself. The association’s centenary year is now behind him, leaving Blewitt to
focus on running the organisation. Competition will be fierce should the ICAEW,
CIMA and CIPFA pull off their merger.

42. Jurgen Tiedje

EC head of accounting and auditing

New to this position, German lawyer Jurgen Tiedje must find the diplomacy to
defuse the explosive situation surrounding IAS39. He has started well, offering
some conciliatory gestures to the IASB, but is still maintaining a hard line
when it comes to protecting the rights of the influential banks.

43. Jonathan Pierce

Credit Suisse First Boston

Jonathan Pierce is the man behind a CSFB report for investors spelling out
the investment bank’s expectation that Northern Rock would see a 10% dip in
profits as a result of IAS39. Cue a public spat with the bank about just what
would happen with its results. The whole episode served as a warning of how
divisive international standards could be if analysts and corporates fail to
understand each other.

44. Edward Leigh

Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

As chairman of the most influential select committee, Edward Leigh is one to
watch. His statements, along with studies from the National Audit Office, could
prove devastating as the general election in 2005 draws closer. In 2004, Leigh,
a barrister by profession, made headlines when he called for full access rights
for the NAO when the BBC’s charter is reviewed.

45. Leslie Ferrar

Treasurer to Prince Charles

Just as Accountancy Age went to press we were told that that Ferrar had taken
the job of treasurer to Prince Charles. In the grand scheme of things, this may
not be a big job, but given the public scrutiny of Royal accounts, Ferrar’s work
will have to be scrupulously handled. A tough job, but you get to hobnob with

46. Larry Ellison

CEO of Oracle

Oracle boss Larry Ellison is a very happy man, after his company’s successful
acquisition of bitter rival PeopleSoft. Ellison has promised to finish
development of the latest version of PeopleSoft’s ERP application, and then to
build a successor that combines the best of PeopleSoft and Oracle’s flagship

47. Bob Herz

Head of the US Financial Accounting Standards Board

A former board member of the IASB, Herz has crossed the Atlantic to become
chairman of the US FASB. His rating recently rose in auditing circles when he
formed part of an influential US panel calling for liability protection for US
auditors, mirroring UK efforts, under a new model of financial reporting.

48. Sir John Bourn

Comptroller and auditor general

Sir John Bourn must have taken immense pleasure again this year when he
acknowledged that the National Audit Office is meeting its goals and exceeding
its performance targets by saving the taxpayers £482m. He now runs an audit
inspection team that monitors audits of listed companies.

49. Steve Bundred

Chief executive at the Audit Commission

Steve Bundred, chief executive at the Audit Commission, is bent on a drive
for greater efficiency at the commission. Having been on the receiving end of
its demands, the former chief executive of the London Borough of Camden is
relishing the opportunity to make some necessary changes.

50. Oliver Letwin

Conservative shadow chancellor

With a general election just around the corner, Oliver Letwin, a former
merchant banker, has been touring the City and garnered sympathy for his views
on the burdens of red tape and taxation, and his assertion that Brown’s policy
is increasingly fragile. Expect him to step up a gear during the next couple of

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