Leslie F. Seidman, who has been acting chair of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, since the abrupt departure of her predecessor Robert Herz, has been given the permanent chairmanship post.

The Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees FASB, named Seidman as chairman of FASB, effective immediately. She has served as the acting FASB chairman since the Herz’s retirement on Sept. 30, 2010.

“Our board of trustees is thrilled that Leslie Seidman has agreed to accept the position as Chairman of the FASB,” said FAF Chairman John J. Brennan in a statement. “She brings both unparalleled standard-setting experience and outstanding leadership skills to her new role. As the FASB continues its efforts to address the many significant accounting and financial reporting issues both here in the U.S. and globally, Leslie’s depth of experience with international and domestic financial reporting issues will enhance our progress toward meeting the needs of all of our varied constituents.”

Seidman was appointed a member of FASB in 2003. She started her career at Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young, LLP), as a member of the audit staff, serving clients in the retail, publishing and venture capital industries. Later, she served as a vice president in the accounting policies department of J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc., where she was responsible for establishing accounting policies for new financial products, particularly securities and derivatives, and analyzing and implementing new accounting standards.

Seidman went on to become a member of the FASB staff, and followed that experience by founding and managing a financial reporting consulting firm serving corporations, accounting firms and other organizations. She is a member of the AICPA, the American Women’s Society of CPAs, and the Institute of Management Accountants.

“I am honored to be leading the FASB at such a pivotal time in our history,” said Seidman. “The FASB remains committed to developing standards that will provide investors and other capital providers with decision-useful information. We are at a crucial point in our convergence program, and my fellow board members and I are working in close partnership with the IASB to improve the comparability of financial information around the world. We want our standards to enhance communication and confidence in financial reports, and we will continue to seek new ways to keep our stakeholders informed and engaged in the standard-setting process.”

As announced by the FAF trustees on Aug. 24, 2010, FASB will return to a seven-member structure. The Board of Trustees is engaged in processes to evaluate candidates for the two additional seats, and an announcement is expected in early 2011.

Cindy Fornelli, the executive director of the Center for Audit Quality, expressed her support for Seidman’s appointment. “The CAQ congratulates Leslie Seidman on her appointment as the FASB’s new chairman,” she said in a statement. “Leslie has been an active member of the FASB board since 2003 and as the acting chairman since October has shown herself to be a strong and thoughtful leader. She is talented, dedicated and well-suited to carry out the FASB’s critical mission of establishing and improving standards of financial accounting and reporting for use by public company auditors and other nongovernmental entities to provide useful information to investors and other users of financial reports.”

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