In just under two years at the helm of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, Chairman William McDonough has gone from being a respected figure in banking to being the most influential - and often feared - figure in accounting.

McDonough, who had had a distinguished career at First Chicago Bank and later served as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, assumed the chairmanship of the PCAOB in July 2003, when the fledgling board - created a year earlier by Congress as a result of the passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act - was in a state of disarray.

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