ACCA has some big shoes to fill

This, of course, has not been the only aborted appointment to the post.

The institute began looking for a successor for retiring chief executive Anthea Rose in early 2001. And it thought it had found its man in Andrew Hind, of the BBC’s World Service, just a few months later.

Hind however, unexpectedly withdrew in November 2001. Officials and office-holders were forced to extend their search, a search they hoped would come to an end when Hudson agreed to take over the post in the summer. But that search – which has already been a two-year marathon – is not over yet.

It is impossible to conclude that errors of judgment have not contributed to ACCA being left in this position. To lose one chief executive is unfortunate, to lose a second does seem somewhat careless.

In fairness, ACCA has been a little unlucky, too. While searching for a replacement for Rose, ACCA’s headhunter Whitehead Mann took on the job of finding the ICAEW a new chief executive. In June, the institute appointed Eric Anstee after a recruitment process of just five months.

That caused understandable anger at ACCA, where officials clearly felt Whitehead Mann had broken the spirit of an agreement, if not the letter.

It looked bad and it’s not surprising that ACCA does not expect to be working with Whitehead Mann going forward. This week, Rose said she would stand down as intended at the end of this month, with chief operating officer Helen Brand taking over the reins on an interim basis.

Rose deserves a great deal of credit for turning ACCA into one of the world’s most influential accountancy institutes. She and the association are inextricably linked.

But many insiders say that it is her inability to let go of her ‘baby’ that has made recruiting a successor such a painful process. ACCA is a stronger and more influential body for having Rose at the helm. But strong leaders cast a long shadow. And her departure at the end of the month will only make it easier for ACCA to get on with the business of replacing her.


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