Friday 2 November 2018 11:23 am

Stephen Haddrill steps down as FRC audit watchdog boss amid probe

Stephen Haddrill, chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), is stepping down amid a government probe into the watchdog’s operations.

Haddrill has led the FRC, which monitors and regulates the audit sector, since 2009.

The news comes in the wake of mounting pressure on the FRC, which has come under examination following several recent scandals within the UK’s accountancy sector.

The high-profile collapses of Carillion and BHS has brought greater focus on the watchdog, with politicians demanding more scrutiny of the Big Four accountancy firms.

Greg Clark, the business secretary, has asked Sir John Kingman to conduct a review of the FRC's remit and role following the string of corporate collapses.

According to the watchdog body, the exact date of Haddrill's departure will depend on a number of factors, including "the outcome of Sir John Kingman’s review of the FRC, the search for his successor, and any agreed transition period associated with that appointment".

Haddrill said: “I am incredibly proud to have led the FRC for nearly nine years. However, I believe that it should be the job of a new CEO to lead the FRC when the way ahead is decided.

"In the meantime, I remain fully committed to taking forward the FRC’s important programmes on audit reform, investor stewardship, corporate reporting and preparing the FRC for EU exit.”

FRC chairman Sir Win Bischoff added: “I would personally like to thank Stephen and also on behalf of the Board, Committees and Councils of the FRC for his leadership and commitment over this significant period in our history.”

Vernon Soare, Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW)’s chief operating officer, said: "Stephen has led the Financial Reporting Council with integrity and professionalism for almost a decade, through a time of significant challenge in audit and corporate governance – and the role of regulators. He deserves great credit for his personal contribution over that period, both in the UK and internationally."