ACCA may face a second leadership challenge after dissident members launched an attack on the suitability of newly elected deputy president Moyra Kedslie this week.
Kedslie was the surprise choice as third in line for the presidency after president-elect Ray Gardiner was suddenly sacked by the ACCA council a fortnight ago. Criticism of her centres on her tenure as joint head of Hull university’s School of Accounting, Business and Finance – a post from which she resigned during an internal review.
A working party, under the chairmanship of deputy dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences professor David Richardson, was established in November 1997 to review the management of the school.
Referring to ‘a period of unrest’, Richardson’s internal report stated: ‘On the basis of this report, discussions were held in January 1998 with the joint heads of the school, as a result of which Dr Kedslie resigned as joint head.’
The report raised serious questions about the leadership style employed at the school, and concluded that ‘policymaking before and after August 1997 (Kedslie became head of the independent school from 1 August), was highly concentrated in the Head of School’.
‘In many cases, key decisions on new teaching initiatives, resource allocation, and appointments were made without full consultation and debate within the school,’ the report continued.
Kedslie declined to comment on the report, but Richardson defended her on the grounds that she had been under severe pressure from the university to generate income with short-term projects.
He said: ‘Moyra is a very efficient person and is very committed but there was concern about the direction of the school and perhaps she felt that she had alienated some of her colleagues. Her resignation was an honourable thing to do.’
Friends of Gardiner, who was removed on the day he was due to take office, have reacted angrily to Kedslie’s election and said she should step down. One said: ‘It is quite deplorable that such a person who had to resign almost immediately after the enquiry started at ACCA.’
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