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Anstee to retire as ICAEW chief executive. By John Stokdyk

30th Jun 2006
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The ICAEW announced on Friday morning that chief executive officer Eric Anstee will retire after serving for three years.

Anstee was the institute's first-ever CEO, appointed because the body felt it needed a more pro-active leadership that that provided by holders of the previous secretary general position.

Commenting on Anstee's departure, ICAEW president Ian Morris said Anstee had supplied the "firm leadership" it wanted.

On the back of the major strategic review Eric instigated, he set the institute on a course to increase its international footprint, embrace the full breadth of the economy, align with member careers and maintain its reputation for excellence. He also put in place a management team to meet the increased strategic challenges facing the institute."

Before joining the institute in 2003, Anstee had been finance director at FTSE-listed Old Mututal and a member of the Accounting Standards Board. On taking up his new post, he took a higher profile in ICAEW publicity campaigns, using press statements to drum up support for initiatives such as Practice Assurance and educational reforms.

Anstee's high profile was not to everybody's taste. In 2004, BDO Stoy Hayward's managing partner Jeremy Newman derided the chief executive for "seeking publicity and drowning out the truth with irrelevant noise". On AccountingWEB, several members moaned about the jargon-laden emails they received from Moorgate Place.

In the valedictory announcement of Anstee's retirement, ICAEW president Morris highlighted the new management structure and moves to create a global accounting alliance to increase the profession's influence in China, Russia and the US. Morris also credited the CEO for overseeing the transition of professional oversight of the profession in the UK and his role in guiding statutory changes such as the 8th European Directive and the Companies Bill currently before Parliament.

But not everything went as planned. In 2004, Anstee launched a campaign to consolidate the profession by opening merger talks with CIMA and CIPFA. More than a year, and £1.4m, later the initiative failed to gain the support of more than two-thirds of the ICAEW membership.

Then, earlier this month ICAEW president-elect Graham Durgan resigned amid controversy over conflict of interest claims after it emerged that he had been chosen as "recommended supplier" of ACA training in China and Russia. Anstee's decision to retire emerged during the ICAEW council's annual conference, where the Durgan affair had been one of the topics for discussion. Institute sources strenuously denied any connection between the two events.

In his stopthemerger blog, campaigner Ken Frost commented, "It will be interesting to see if his departure marks the death knell for any future foolish time consuming and money wasting merger attempts."

Rather than letting the ICAEW "off the hook", Frost said he would continue to lobby for the institute to reform its its operations and structure. "It should also be noted that Anstee intends to stay on his role, until a successor is found. It will be interesting to see if any new initiatives are announced during this period."

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    Replies (9)

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    By AnonymousUser
    06th Jul 2006 11:52

    Anstee begs for justice +
    The Daily Telegraph reports today, another 1,700 readers have already signed-up (see item below) and Blair has now taken considerable notice of yesterday's letter to Reid.

    AccountingWeb also has much clout and if the ICAEW executive need a reminder of their duties, perhaps consideration could be given to a straight-talking interview with Ken Frost.

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    05th Jul 2006 10:46

    Anstee begs for justice
    Today, an open letter to The Home Secretary (see, The Daily Telegraph, Full page No 6) ends with the words " and preserve Britain's ancient tradition of transparent justice".

    This letter was sent by Eric Anstee, CEO ICAEW, and 38 others.

    My main observations are:

    (1) Who is Anstee to talk about transparent justice as a matter of national importance when he (and Morris) could not even see fair play (for Graham Durgan) within the ICAEW?

    (2) An external review of The Durgan Debacle is needed to expose the major failings and any malpractice. A senior lawyer should conduct this extensive review to ensure transparent justice.

    (3) Why is there such secrecy at the ICAEW when Anstee insists transparency is of such importance? He even claims he submitted his own resignation months ago (as with Durgan's resignation, his letter and the response should be published).

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    02nd Jul 2006 11:16

    Succession - ATO Mark (in particular)
    Last September, four qualified accountants (including myself and Mark Lee FCA) and/or tax advisers (again including Mark as a CTA (Fellow)) had a very pleasant evening and dinner after Mark had kindly given (in both senses) an excellent lecture on tax.

    I did most briefly enquire of Mark's views upon Eric Anstee and it was immediately obvious that our views were diametrically opposed and since it was my duty (and pleasure) to entertain (not bore or harass) our lecturer the conversation changed and Mark (as a member of The Magic Circle) entertained us with some tricks as well as talk.

    Where is Ian's report on the Durgan fiasco, was it presented to conference, if not, why not? Did you know Anstee resigned many moons ago and did the majority of Council members know this, and, as Ken Frost says, whom does this latest leak benefit?

    Ian is on the Board, he is the most senior member of Council, he has eyes, ears, a brain and a voice. Some of his behavior may well have been exemplary but he has presided, at the very least, over crass incompetence and leaks.

    The recent leak came from Anstee (his voice on record) and the first leak to The Independent almost certainly did (his words to Council - verbatim !).

    Durgan did nothing wrong, he is astute, he is a man of honour: for these three reasons he should immediately replace Morris, and Ken Frost's unanswered questions point so strongly to malpractice that they must be answered.

    Also, who will now defend Anstee? He should go "now".

    Why spend thousands on a headhunter when even I know at least six suitable replacements.

    Mark, you have many friends in high places - can you magic any real answers?


    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    02nd Jul 2006 17:06

    Conference questions
    When did the conference actually finish? Did some Council members stay on? Did it cost the institute more than £50,000? When, if at all, will we know more?

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    30th Jun 2006 23:48

    Going, going, gone?
    The ICAEW said that they are unconcerned that 800 of their members resigned in the first quarter of this year (actually the vast majority doubtless resigned wef 31/12 last year but their resignations were only accepted this year).

    The second quarter ends today, so it would be interesting to know the current level of ICAEW resignations, which might be only a few.
    It would also be interesting to know the number of resignations from each of the other CCAB bodies.

    It is reported elsewhere that hundreds of PWC, E&Y and, possibly, KPMG tax students have had their training switched from ICAEW to ICAS.

    Messrs Anstee and Morris should clear their desks next week, before they do more damage.
    For respective replacements try any successful engineer and Graham Durgan.

    Thanks (0)
    John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
    By John Stokdyk
    30th Jun 2006 11:05

    What next for the ICAEW?
    There were some fascinating machinations behind the announcement of Anstee's resignation, which appeared to leak from someone at the council conference on Thursday. But we'll leave the cloak and dagger stuff for others to contemplate.

    Ken Frost's final point does raise an important question. For all of the positive spin put on Anstee's achievements, the CEO experiment has not been a total success. Will the ICAEW headhunters stick to their guns and go for another big-time mover and shaker, or will they look for someone who will focus on less spectacular reforms, such as the ones that Ken suggests?

    Feel free to share any observations, opinions, suggestions for the ICAEW leadership or farewell messages to Anstee with other AccountingWEB members by clicking the 'Post a Comment' button.

    John Stokdyk
    Technology editor

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    30th Jun 2006 11:06

    One down ......
    Ian Morris should also step down. He also, together with Anstee, presided over the Durgan debacle.

    There can be no confidence that Morris can, or could, help the ICAEW but Durgan could.

    Ken Frost has the unspoken gratitude of thousands upon thousands of ICAEW members (past, present and future).

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    30th Jun 2006 13:52

    Any questions. Any answers
    Ken Frost said today:

    The question that lingers is why did the [this] story leak a day early, thus distracting council from analysing the Durgan Debacle.

    Thanks (0)
    By AnonymousUser
    30th Jun 2006 15:01

    Who knows?
    The question posed below, by Ken Frost, suggests that the majority of ICAEW Council members only learned of Anstee's "ancient" decision to step down whilst attending the conference.

    We have not seen news of the Morris Report on the Durgan affair or of any other major development(s) today.

    Thanks (0)