PracticeAccounting FirmsNon-exec takes controls at Chantrey Vellacott

Non-exec takes controls at Chantrey Vellacott

Chantrey Vellacott is to become what is thought to be the first accountancy firm with a non-executive chairman, a move that emphasises the growing concern with corporate governance in the wake of Enron and WorldCom.

Link: Grant Thornton worries over lack of NEDs

The firm, number 20 in the UK, has appointed Robert Wright, a former airline pilot and businessman who has guided several companies through management buyouts.

There will be no senior partner at the firm as Chantrey Vellacott shifts to a more corporate stance with Wright bringing ‘fresh ideas’ to management.

Christine Freshwater, managing partner at the firm, said: ‘I think both I and the firm will benefit from being challenged and advised by someone with a wealth of experience outside the profession.’

Wright has been a pilot for British Airways and Virgin Atlantic and in between jobs, began his own regional airline which was sold to Air Europe.

When that company went bust, Wright was on the rescue team and the overhauled company was eventually sold to BA for £75m in 1999.

The work of non-executives has been put under the microscope since the accounting scandals in the US and the UK government has clear intentions to beef up the role as part of its review of audit.

It appears that Chantrey Vellacott’s real interest in Wright, however, is his business instinct. A statement said Wright would be a ‘sounding board’ for the managing partner and the management team and would help the firm to recognise workable ideas at an early stage.

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