The Institute of Internal Auditors and the Auditing Roundtable, Inc. have signed a merger agreement after more than a year of negotiations.

Leaders of the two organizations signed the agreement Wednesday at the IIA’s 74th International Conference in Vancouver, B.C. The deal was originally announced in March (see IIA Merges with Auditing Roundtable). The merger will be finalized upon anticipated state regulatory approval.

The merger positions environmental, health, and safety auditors globally to receive the IIA’s professional services through the creation of a dedicated EHS Audit Center, starting in 2016. The agreement initiates an integration plan that continues the Auditing Roundtable’s services to its members until the new center opens in 2016.

Earlier this year, the Auditing Roundtable’s board of directors unanimously approved a letter of intent to merge with the IIA, with members overwhelmingly approving the proposal.

The IIA’s North American Board, Executive Committee, and Global Board of Directors also approved the merger. “I am certain this union and the launch of the new EHS Audit Center will elevate the professional practice of environmental, health, and safety auditing globally,” said IIA president and CEO Richard F. Chambers in a statement. “The support the new center will provide through targeted resources, training, and networking opportunities will benefit EHS internal auditors, the organizations they serve, and internal audit stakeholders through improved service and value.”

The IIA said it is currently seeking a director to head the new EHS Audit Center, and the pre-merger Auditing Roundtable Board will serve as the center’s initial Advisory Board.

The IIA will continue to offer Board of Environmental, Health & Safety Auditor Certifications (BEAC), which the Auditing Roundtable and IIA have jointly overseen since 1997, to the EHS auditing community.

Separately, the IIA elected Lawrence J. Harrington, chief audit executive of Raytheon Company, as chairman of the organization’s 2015-2016 global board of directors, along with other members of the IIA board, during the Vancouver conference. The IIA also said Thursday that its conference next year will be in New York City to mark the organization’s 75th anniversary.

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