Washington (May 9, 2003) -- The Public Company Accounting Oversight Board announced Thursday that KPMG partner and former American Institute of CPAs auditing expert Thomas Ray will join the Board’s staff as Deputy Chief Auditor.

Ray, 43, is a KPMG partner in the Department of Professional Practice-Assurance in New York offering advice on professional standards and firm policy.

As Deputy Chief Auditor, Ray will work closely with Chief Auditor Douglas R. Carmichael. The chief auditor and his staff will report to the Board on significant issues related to the accounting profession and work with other organizations, such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the AICPA.

"Tom Ray’s qualifications combine an extensive technical background in auditing standards and practice with a highly developed concern with protecting investors," Dr. Carmichael said. "I look forward to working with him."

"It sounds like the PCAOB is throwing an olive branch to the AICPA," said industry consultant Allan Koltin. The PCAOB was created by the Sarbanes-Oxley accounting industry reform act, partly in response to criticism that self-regulation by the AICPA was not effective. Carmichael also worked at the AICPA for 13 years as 13 years as vice president of auditing standards.

"On a positive note, it’s nice to see that they’re pulling someone who has experience on both sides of the table, who worked at the AICPA and also was in the trenches of a Big Four accounting firm, having to deal less with the theoretical and more of the practical reality of applying the standards in real-life client situations," Koltin added.

Ray said he was recruited by the PCAOB and interviewed with the entire board earlier this year. "I was working in my office and the phone rang," he told WebCPA. "I was quite content at KPMG but they caught my interest and convinced me of the significance of what they were doing and the amount of responsibility they were asking me to take on.

"I’m extremely excited - it’s a once-in-a-career type of opportunity."

Ray said the biggest challenge facing him in his new job is staffing up and getting started on making decisions on how he and Carmichael intend to promulgate auditing standards for public companies. "Obviously there are a lot of directions we can choose," he said. He added that another priority will be to establish an advisory council to fulfill the board’s recent proposed rule on the standard setting process.

Ray will relocate from New York to Washington for the job and starts June 1.

AICPA Chairman William Ezzell cheered the news. "I think Tom's appointment is good for the PCAOB and the profession," he said. "Having someone with recent and in-depth, hands-on experience doing audits will benefit all involved. Overall, I think it will be important to the PCAOB to bring on board qualified individuals who will garner the respect of audit firms and preparers."

Prior to joining KPMG in 2000, Ray was Director- Audit and Attest Standards at the AICPA. In his post, he was responsible for putting AICPA auditing and attestation standards-setting activities into practice and was the group’s senior technical advisor to the Auditing Standards Board.

Ray joined the AICPA in 1995 after 13 years with Grant Thornton auditor. He began his career in the Dallas office of the firm in January 1983 and is a CPA in both New York and Texas.

-- Tracey Miller-Segarra

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