Friday, June 30, 2006

Anstee Steps Down

Even the most glittering and majestic of reigns must come to an end.

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
Finally, as a minor matter of curiosity, it would be interesting to know how/why the story about Anstee leaving was leaked a day early and by whom. It is worth noting that the "leak" was well timed enough to enable Accountancy Age to put together several reports on the matter, in time for publication early this morning.

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.


  1. That's a result but as you say - reasons? Can you pat yourself on the back (without a trace of smugness of course)?

  2. Oh dear Ken.

    Logic does not come into the decision about the number of council members. It is based on how many seats there are in the Council Chamber. It is a bums on seat approach.

    No Council will vote the numbers down unless it is on the basis of stopping taking new council members until natural wastage reduces the number to a reasonable one.