The International Federation of Accountants has appointed Jörgen Holmquist, the former Director General of Internal Market and Services at the European Commission, as the first independent chair of the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants.

His three-year term begins in September. Holmquist has been a public member of the IESBA since 2011. He served as Director General, DG Internal Market and Services, European Commission from 2007 to 2010, where he was responsible for developing the European Union’s regulatory response to the financial crisis, including legislation and policy concerning accounting and auditing. Before joining the European Commission in 1997, he served in the Swedish Ministry of Finance for 20 years. Holmquist holds a degree in economics and mathematics from the University of Stockholm and is a fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard University.

“Jörgen brings a wealth of experience to the position of independent chair of the IESBA,” said IFAC president Göran Tidström in a statement. “In his past roles, as well as in his current position as a public member of the IESBA, he has shown strong leadership skills, technical competence, and a commitment to the IESBA and its mission to protect the public interest. I am confident that, under his leadership, the IESBA will continue to make a highly effective contribution to ethics standard setting as well as, importantly, adoption and implementation. I would like also to acknowledge the exemplary contribution and commitment Ken Dakdduk brought to the role, and to his position on the board, over the past seven years.”

In his role as chair, Holmquist will provide leadership to the IESBA. A key function of the chair is to enable, encourage, and promote a deeper understanding by stakeholders and the public of the strategies and activities of the IESBA. The chair also leads the strategic direction of the IESBA, working closely with IESBA staff, and facilitates the deliberative and consultative processes that underpin the authority of the IESBA and the legitimacy of its standards and activities. In addition, the chair is involved in developing and maintaining effective relationships with national standard setters, regulators, and other key stakeholders.

“Convergence to a single set of high-quality ethical standards will contribute to efficient, sustainable, and vibrant capital markets and is in the public interest,” Holmquist commented. "I look forward to advancing the IESBA’s current initiatives, as well as the recently announced additional workstreams, enhancing relationships with national standard setters, regulators, governments, and the public and promoting adoption and implementation of the Code."

The appointment of an independent chair for the IESBA was recommended by the Monitoring Group in its “Review of the IFAC Reforms — Final Report,” which was issued in 2010. The appointment has been approved by the international Public Interest Oversight Board.

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