Helen Brand appointed ACCA chief executive

Helen Brand, newly appointed ACCA chief executive

Brand is currently managing director for strategy and development.

She will start on 1 September, an advance on the previous timetable, since
she is an internal candidate.
Brand has worked in the profession on the international development side since
1987, having worked for CIMA previously. ‘My core competence in the profession
has been development. I’ve worked extensively in Africa and Asia,’ Brand told
Accountancy Age.

ACCA has the biggest global footprint of all the UK institutes, with current
chief executive Allen Blewitt coming to the job after working in the
Asia-Pacific region.

Brand is a politics graduate and does not have an ACCA qualification.
‘Running a professional body isn’t about being any type of accountant; it’s
about having the skills,’ Brand said.

Asked about the friction there has been with other institutes in the UK, she
said: ‘There is a role for healthy competition. I think we see that throughout
the world, not just in the UK. When talking in the public interest, accountancy
bodies have shown themselves mature and sensible enough,’ she said.

Brand said she hoped to ‘build on [ACCA’s] current success’.

The remuneration committee, led by Brendan Murtagh, was tasked with finding a
successor to Blewitt. ‘Because we are global [we need] someone with an
understanding of a global organisation,’ a spokesman said.

ACCA critic Prem Sikka said it was a shame not to get an ACCA-qualified
candidate in the role: ‘It makes a mockery of the claim that their
qualifications are the best, when the last three chief executives in a row
[haven’t had the qualification].’

Sikka said the challenge for Brand would be to deal with issues in the
Asia-Pacific region, where ACCA needs to expand. ‘The larger the membership, the
harder it is to speak for the membership,’ he added.

Sikka said it was surprising that an internal candidate had been picked, and
that the body could do with someone external to take a fresh look.

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