PracticeAccounting FirmsIn profile: FRC chairman Sir Bryan Nicholson

In profile: FRC chairman Sir Bryan Nicholson

Following the decision of the trade secretary last week, Sir Bryan Nicholson has seen his role as chairman of the Financial Reporting Council dramatically expanded.

But these substantial changes to the structure of the FRC may mean the businessman will have to be replaced, taking him out of the front line.

As head of the newly strengthened FRC, Sir Bryan has a hugely expanded regulatory empire which allows him to lord it over many more people and for far more reasons than previously.

In fact, trade secretary Patricia Hewitt has given him leadership of a super watchdog, which subsumes the defunct Accountancy Foundation, with powers to regulate the accounting industry, judge auditor objectivity, and punish inappropriate reporting and use of standards.

In other words, Sir Bryan is now in charge of making sure the public and shareholders feel protected from the kind of unscrupulous accounting that went on over at Enron and the sinister shredding that took place at Andersen.

Sir Bryan was appointed director and chairman to the FRC in July 2001, taking over from Sir Sydney Lipworth. When he was appointed, he was chairman of BUPA and the Cookson Group, and non-executive director at GKN and Equitas holding and AIM-listed GOAL. He is obviously viewed as versatile and able to turn his hand to most sectors.

A politics, philosophy and economics graduate of Oxford, he has a career which includes time at Unilever, the Remington division of Sperry Rand and Rank Xerox in the UK. He had spent time as chairman of the Manpower Services Commission, chairman and chief executive of the Post Office, chairman of the National Council for Vocational Qualifications, and president of the CBI between 1994 and 1996.

Just to give an idea of the scale of Sir Bryan’s new regulatory kingdom it’s worth bearing in mind that he has overall responsibility for five bodies – the Auditing Practices Board, the Accounting Standards Board, the Financial Reporting and Review Panel, the Investigation and Discipline Board and the Professional Oversight Board.

Sir Bryan welcomed the changes, saying they were ‘firmly grounded in common sense’ and that they ‘represent a step change for the better in British corporate governance’.

Related Articles

BDO’s global revenues pass $8bn

Accounting Firms BDO’s global revenues pass $8bn

4d Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Top 40 International Networks, Associations and Alliances: Finding growth amid uncertainty

Accounting Firms Top 40 International Networks, Associations and Alliances: Finding growth amid uncertainty

7d Philip Smith, Reporter
Top 40 International Networks, Associations and Alliances 2017: Big Four tussle for top spot

Accounting Firms Top 40 International Networks, Associations and Alliances 2017: Big Four tussle for top spot

1w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
BDO reports revenue growth of 5.7%

Accounting Firms BDO reports revenue growth of 5.7%

2w Alia Shoaib, Reporter
Taylorcocks announces merger with Surrey firm

Accounting Firms Taylorcocks announces merger with Surrey firm

2w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Kingston Smith reports 7% gender pay gap

Accounting Firms Kingston Smith reports 7% gender pay gap

2w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
RSM announces two partner promotions

Accounting Firms RSM announces two partner promotions

3w Emma Smith, Managing Editor
Backsourcing: The latest accountancy trend?

Accounting Firms Backsourcing: The latest accountancy trend?

1m Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman