The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) is facing intense scrutiny over a secret six-figure severance package being handed to its retiring chief executive, Michael Izza.
The payment, which could amount to as much as twice Izza's annual base salary of £492,000, has been met with anger and disbelief by many in the accounting profession.
It comes at a time when the ICAEW is already under fire for its retention of fines imposed on audit firms. In 2021, the ICAEW pocketed a £13.5 million penalty from Silentnight, the mattresses retailer, rather than using the money to reimburse pensioners who had been disadvantaged by corporate governance failings.
The ICAEW has defended the payment to Izza, saying that it is "in line with market rates" and that it is "appropriate" given his length of service and achievements.
However, critics argue that the payment is excessive and that it sends the wrong message at a time when the ICAEW is supposed to be promoting high standards of corporate governance.
"This is a staggering amount of money to pay to someone who is already very well-paid," said one industry insider. "It's a slap in the face to the thousands of accountants who work for the ICAEW and who are paid a fraction of what Izza is getting."
The ICAEW has said that it will publish the full details of the severance package in its next annual report. However, that is unlikely to do much to quell the anger that is already brewing.
This is just the latest in a series of controversies to hit the ICAEW in recent years. The organization has been criticized for its handling of the Carillion collapse, its close ties to the Big Four audit firms, and its failure to crack down on widespread corporate fraud.
The decision to hand Izza a six-figure severance package is likely to further damage the ICAEW's reputation and raise questions about its commitment to transparency and accountability.
The ICAEW is in hot water. They're handing a lavish sum to their retiring CEO, Michael Izza, amid a row over fines imposed on audit firms.
People are angry. They say the payment is excessive and sends the wrong message.
The ICAEW has defended the payment, saying it's in line with market rates. But critics say that's not good enough.
This is just the latest in a series of controversies to hit the ICAEW. They're in danger of losing the public's trust.
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