PracticeAccounting FirmsFrontrunners in race to lead SFO emerge

Frontrunners in race to lead SFO emerge

The front-runners in the race to replace Rosalind Wright as head of the Serious Fraud Office have emerged, but there are no signs of any accountants being favoured to take the post.

Link: Three Wickes’ directors acquitted

Some observers had highlighted Chris Dickson, executive counsel of the Accountants Joint Disciplinary Scheme, but other more fancied runners being talked up for the job are those already working in Whitehall.

Among them is David Pickup, solicitor general to Customs & Excise. Pickup began his career at the Treasury Solicitor’s Department in the late 1970s.

Another contender is Stephen Parkinson, legal secretary to the attorney general who has also worked at the DTI and Crown Prosecution Service.

But one of the favourites is Robert Wardle, a deputy to Wright at the SFO. Wright, who has been particularly vocal in her time at the fraud office, will step down next April.

Traditionally the post goes to a lawyer, although legislation places no restriction on the profession of the SFO director. After the collapse of the Wickes trial last week, whoever takes up the post will have to overcome cynicism about the SFO’s success rate.

Insiders say there were far fewer applications than anticipated. It is understood applications numbered only a few dozen when more than 100 might have been expected.

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