Sir John Bourn, the nation’s most senior public sector auditor, is set to go
through a potentially embarrassing review to determine whether he should stay on
as chairman of the a key accounting watchdog.
Sir John, 73, is the chair of the
Board, which oversees practice accountants, but as part of a revamp of
the Financial Reporting
Council’s processes, he and other chairs of FRC committees will have to
submit themselves for re-consideration for their current posts.
If Sir John was not reappointed, he would serve only five more months in the
job. He will step down as head of the National Audit Office next year, after
rows about his expenses led to allegations of conflicts of interest.
The FRC said that it had the highest regard for Sir John’s work as POB chair,
but stopped short of fully endorsing his continuing in the role: ‘As with all
chairs they will have to go through a review process. The decision will be made
by the nomination committee.’
Sir John’s stated reason for leaving the NAO was that the POB would have
oversight of his role at the public sector scrutiny body, but it is widely
believed the expenses row is a significant factor in his departure.
Sir John had already said: ‘Under these new arrangements it would be
incompatible for me to hold the positions of both C&AG and chairman of the
Losing the POB role could further embarrass an otherwise highly distinguished
career in public sector accounting.
The FRC added that it was too early to say if other candidates were going to
be putting their hats in the ring for Sir John’s POB post.
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