The above sentiment will doubtless be disseminated by the ICAEW executive as they seek to put a positive spin on the departure "leaked" yesterday, and due to be formally announced today, of Eric Anstee the first ever CEO of the ICAEW.
Anstee presided over the latest (sixth in 35 years) failed merger attempt of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. The timing of the announcement is hardly propitious, coming as it does in the middle of the ICAEW Council Conference which is trying to clear up the mess resulting from the Durgan Debacle.
I do not intend to dwell on Anstee's triumphs and failures; nor indeed do I intend to worry about whether he resigned, retired or was sacked.
However, I would note that Anstee, earlier this year, indicated that he would be in favour of trying to place a merger vote before the membership again. It will be interesting to see if his departure marks the death knell for any future foolish time consuming and money wasting merger attempts.
It should not be forgotten that the last attempt cost us £1.4M, plus untold damage to our brand value.
The departure of Anstee does not let the ICAEW off the hook, with regard to its operations and structure:
- Council needs to be cut from its current absurd level of 90 plus, to a more manageable and effective size of around 6-12 people
- The questions raised earlier on this site, in relation to the Durgan Debacle need to be addressed openly
- The selection of the next CEO will be "interesting", both in terms of who applies and who is finally selected by the ICAEW
- 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
It should also be noted, that the timing and professionalism (Accountancy Age were well primed with several articles and a podcast-which would have taken 24 hours to arrange) of the "leak" means that Council's attention will be distracted from discussing/focusing too hard on the Durgan Debacle.
Who would gain from that?
Maybe though, I am just too cynical?
The future direction of the ICAEW will be decided over the coming months, it will be a very exciting period indeed. I will be following developments very closely.