PracticeAuditUS Champion of audit independence ousted

US Champion of audit independence ousted

Sean Harrigan, champion of corporate governance and president of the California Public Employees' Retirement System board (CALPERS), has been ousted.

His departure follows anger at the increasingly militant attitude exemplified by a new policy of targeting directors whose companies allowed their auditors to provide non-audit services.

The pension fund would use its $177bn (£92bn) financial muscle to oppose such directors’ re-election, despite the fact that even the stringent Sarbanes-Oxley act contains no prohibition against doing so.

California’s State Personnel Board voted by three to two to remove Harrigan as their representative, to be replaced by the less hard-line Ron Alvarado.

His departure ends a reign which saw CALPERS contribute to the departure of Michael Eisner as chairman of Walt Disney and Richard Grasso as head of the New York Stock Exchange, The Financial Times reported. A new president will be chosen in the New Year.

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