FAF chief Teresa Polley to resign

Teresa Polley, the longtime president and CEO of the Financial Accounting Foundation, announced Friday that she will be stepping down after 11 years of running the organization that oversees the Financial Accounting Standards Board, the Governmental Accounting Standards Board and the Private Company Council.

Polley-Terri-FAF 2018

Polley plans to remain at the helm of the FAF, however, until transition plans for her position are finalized. She is one of many longtime leaders at the FAF, FASB and GASB who are leaving their roles in the year ahead, echoing a shakeup last year at the auditing firm overseer, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

Besides a successor for Polley, the FAF’s Board of Trustees is also searching for new leaders at FASB and GASB, with the terms of FASB chairman Russell Golden and GASB chairman David Vaudt set to end on June 30, 2020 (see Wanted: New chairmen for FASB and GASB). FAF chairman Charles Noski’s term was due to end last December, but he agreed to stay on until the end of this year to help search for successors for Golden and Vaudt, and now will be helping with Polley’s transition (see Noski to chair FAF until end of year). In the meantime, the FAF Board of Trustees, in accordance with an existing succession plan, has named vice president and general counsel John Auchincloss as acting president of the FAF. He will serve until a permanent replacement for Polley is named.

Polley originally joined FASB in 1987 as a technical associate. She moved to the FAF as controller in 1990 and returned to FASB as executive director of advisory groups in 1999. She was later named president of the FAF in 2008 and CEO in 2010.

“It has been a privilege to work for a mission-driven organization filled with exceptional people who get to do something extraordinary as their life's work: set accounting standards that help make the capital markets function efficiently and effectively,” Polley said in a statement.

Noski thanked Polley for her service. “On behalf of the FAF Trustees, I want to thank Terri for her more than three decades of hard work and service to the organization,” he stated. “She has had a long history of staff and leadership roles at both the FASB and the FAF, including more than a decade as FAF’s president and CEO. During that time, Terri has led key internal initiatives, including major upgrades to FAF’s technology infrastructure, and has played a vital role in such matters as FAF’s strategic planning efforts (in collaboration with the FASB and the GASB), its appointment of talented leaders to serve as FAF trustees and standard-setting board members, and communications with governmental and other stakeholders. We extend our best wishes to Terri for her next chapter.”

Polley did not have a specific end date for her term, but she decided to step down now to aid with the overall transition plans, according to a spokesperson. "Unlike FASB/GASB members and our trustees, the FAF CEO does not work on a specific, time-bound term of office," FAF spokesman Matthew Broder told Accounting Today. "Terri’s reason for stepping down was outlined in an internal email. It’s a timing thing, essentially. As you know, the FAF chairman, FASB chairman and GASB chairman are all leaving office in the next 14 months. Terri’s view was that she could leave now alongside these other departures so that the trustees can hire a long-term successor to serve with the other new appointees, or she could see these other appointments through, stay another two to three years beyond that to help them establish themselves, and then step down. She has already accomplished much of what she set out to do when she got the top job in 2008, so she opted to give the trustees the opportunity to build the new management team in an integrated way."

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