J. Thomas Higginbotham, vice president of congressional and political affairs at the American Institute of CPAs, announced plans to retire in January 2005, after 15 years of service.

The AICPA has hired Washington search firm Korn/Ferry International to help find Higginbotham's successor.

Higginbotham told WebCPA that he doesn't haven't "anything definite planned" yet for his retirement.

"Tom's contributions over the years have been instrumental in directing the AICPA's legislative activities, formulating strategy as well as implementing the institute's political programs," said Barry Melancon, AICPA president and chief executive.

"Tom has provided advice and assistance to help improve the AICPA Political Action Committee; he has been involved with the advocacy efforts of the profession, and has been a key person in positioning the institute in congressional and government matters. The AICPA thanks Tom for his many contributions and wishes him much success in his upcoming retirement," said James O'Malley, AICPA senior vice president of public affairs.

Prior to joining the AICPA in 1989, Higginbotham served as senior vice president of government affairs for Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh. He had earlier served as counsel and legislative representative at the Consumer Bankers Association, and as staff counsel at the American Bankers Association.

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