IAASB finally gets new chair

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The International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board has a new chairman, Thomas Seidenstein, a former chief operating officer at the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation, after the previous choice, former Public Company Accounting Oversight Board chief auditor Martin Baumann, abruptly backed away from taking over the post.

Seidenstein will serve as the new chair for a three-year term, starting July 1, 2019. He will be replacing longtime leader, Professor Arnold Schilder, who has been chairing the IAASB since 2009. Seidenstein is currently senior vice president for strategy, innovation and capital management at Fannie Mae. He previously served as the chief operating officer at the IFRS Foundation, the oversight group for the International Accounting Standards Board.

“I am honored to be selected as the IAASB’s next chair,” Seidenstein said in a statement Monday. “Adopted and implemented worldwide, international standards on audit and assurance are a critical support to global financial market stability. I look forward to working with IAASB members, technical staff, and the leadership of other standard-setting boards to further strengthen cross-sectoral collaboration on key public interest issues and address emerging stakeholder needs. Together, we will advocate tirelessly for relevant standards that facilitate high-quality audit and assurance engagements.”

Last September, the International Federation of Accountants, which facilitates the IAASB, announced that Baumann, the former chief auditor and director of professional standards at the PCAOB, has been appointed as the new chair of the board. However, a later statement from IFAC said Baumann “decided not to assume the post for personal reasons.”

IFAC had come under pressure from a group of international financial and auditing regulators known as the Monitoring Group to reorganize the make-up and standard-setting process of the IAASB. The Monitoring Group formed an Interim Nominating Committee in February of last year to undertake the process of choosing the next head of the IAASB after Schilder announced his retirement.

The Interim Nominating Committee was chaired by Ryozo Himino, vice minister for international affairs at the Japan Financial Services Agency. Seidenstein’s appointment was recommended by the nominating committee after a long international search. He was then endorsed by the IFAC Board and approved by the Public Interest Oversight Board, which oversees the IAASB. Now that it has fulfilled its mandate of choosing a new chair, the committee is dissolving.

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Audits Audit standards IAASB IFAC PCAOB