UK law makers have endorsed the appointment of former BT boss Jan du Plessis as the new chair of the UK’s audit watchdog.
Du Plessis is poised to take over the Financial Reporting Council, which regulates auditing and corporate governance standards, having been selected as the government’s preferred candidate last month by Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng.
Parliament’s business committee chair Darren Jones said du Plessis, who has chaired a host of FTSE-100 companies, has demonstrated a strong understanding of the challenges facing the FRC.
“Sir Jan demonstrated a strong understanding of the challenges facing the Financial Reporting Council, not least concerning the immediate issues relating to the FRC’s own governance,” Jones said.
“We expect Sir Jan to now demonstrate the independence, challenge, and drive necessary to ensure the FRC is able to intervene to correct problems in the audit sector, and prepare for its future role in overseeing corporate governance more widely,” he 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.