Jan du Plessis, the former Chairman of BT as well as a host of FTSE 100 companies, has been selected as the next chair of the UK’s audit watchdog.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng has today confirmed that Jan du Plessis is the Government’s preferred candidate to become the new Chair of the Financial Reporting Council, which promotes transparency and integrity in business.
Du Plessis, who has served as Chair of Rio Tinto and of SABMiller, the multinational drinks company, will lead the FRC through a transition period as the watchdog pushes for more powers to hold companies to account.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “With direct experience leading some of the UK’s most prominent companies, Jan is perfectly placed to ensure strong oversight of UK plc.
“Restoring public confidence in audit and corporate governance will be crucial to our recovery from the pandemic, and I hope to work with Jan towards this goal,” Kwarteng added.
The FRC, which is itself responsible for overseeing corporate governance standards at the UK’s biggest companies, has been left embarrassed by its inability to secure long term, independent leadership. Former chairman Simon Dingemans stepped down early after clashing with government officials over his outside business interests.
Keith Skeoch, former co-chief executive of the asset management group abrdn, took on the FRC chairmanship on an extended interim basis, but he too announced his departure earlier this year. It formally appointed Du Plessis will serve a four year term.
BT was left in turmoil when Du Plessis stepped down in March following a 50 per cent slide in the share price during his time as chairman. At the time, a source said divisions emerged between the chairman and chief executive Philip Jansen over strategy prompting Du Plessis to quit.
The former BT chief also served on FTSE 100 boards at Lloyds Banking Group and Marks & Spencer.