Thursday 1 October 2020 3:16 pm

FRC delays appointment of Keith Skeoch as interim chair

The appointment of City veteran Keith Skeoch as chair of the audit watchdog has reportedly been delayed despite having been signed off by the business secretary.

The plan to name Skeoch as interim chair of the Financial Reporting Council has been delayed due to a failure in Whitehall to rubber-stamp the appointment, according to Sky News.

Read more: Former FRC chairman Simon Dingemans joins Carlyle

Reports emerged last month that the former Standard Life Aberdeen boss would become the stopgap chairman of the regulator.

The decision was reportedly signed off by the business secretary Alok Sharma, but he has now been forced to leave the FRC’s board until the deadlock has been resolved.

A spokesperson for the Department of Business, Energy said: “The day-to-day running of the Financial Reporting Council remains the responsibility of its CEO Sir Jon Thompson. We will announce next steps on recruitment of a new Chair in due course.”

“Jon Thompson is a very good CEO, and he is doing a very good job, but that doesn’t mean the FRC board should be without an effective chairman,” one source told Sky News.

“This is supposed to be the organisation responsible for setting standards for good governance.”

Simon Dingemans stepped down from his role as chair of the FRC in May, less than nine months after taking the role.

The former Glaxosmithkline finance boss was appointed last July to oversee the FRC’s transformation to the Audit, Reporting and Governance Authority (ARGA), following a series of failings.

The watchdog recently confirmed plans to press ahead with plans to break up the Big Four accounting firms by forcing them to separate their audit and consulting divisions.

Pressure has only grown since the collapse of German payments firm Wirecard following an accounting scandal.

EY is facing mounting backlash after the Financial Times revealed an EY employee had flagged potential fraud at the company four years period.

The FRC has said auditors must submit plans this autumn, with “operational separation” coming into effect in 2024.

Read more: Chair of audit watchdog the FRC Simon Dingemans resigns after less than nine months

Skeoch could not be reached for comment.

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