Some 25 former FDs are now FTSE 350 chairmen with 20 leading their boards to
outperform the FTSE All-Share.
With more accountants as chairmen, FDs serving as deputy chief executives in
all but name and accountancy qualifications the most common professional
training among CEOs, it’s not too far-fetched to suggest accountants’ grip on
the running of UK plc is tighter than ever .
But I sense a change in the air. Accountants are moving from running the
business end of the country to owning it. For private equity (the fifth horseman
of the apocalypse, if you believe some reports) is swarming with accountants.
At 3i, chief executive Philip Yea is one. So, as you might expect, is group
FD Simon Ball. Michael Queen, currently managing director for infrastructure, is
too. Even group HR director Denise Collis earned her spurs at Arthur Andersen
and Ernst & Young.
Over at Alchemy, managing partner Jon Moulton is famously an accountant. He
also surrounds himself with them – including four partners.
Lyceum Capital’s managing partner is an accountant ,as is operational partner
David Harland and others. At Baird Capital Partners, several members of the
senior team are accountants too.
So you get the picture. And what does it all mean? Well, with the debate
around whether private equity is a force for good or an evildoer set to rumble
on through the summer, expect the flak to land at the accountancy profession’s
door sometime soon.
Damian Wild is editor in chief of Accountancy Age