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Chief executive of audit watchdog to step down amid independent probe

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The chief executive of the Financial Reporting Council (FRC), the UK’s audit regulator, is to exit next year as it faces an independent review into its operations and effectiveness.

The FRC announced this morning that Stephen Haddrill intended to quit his position in “late 2019”.

The regulator said it had not yet agreed a specific date for Haddrill’s departure is this would depend on the outcome of the review as well as any leadership transition arrangements and the appointment of a new CEO.

The FRC has faced criticism in the past few years from some quarters, which has intensified since the collapse of outsourcing firm Carillion at the start of this year.

A report from a parliamentary committee in May accused the FRC and the Pensions Regulator of being “united in their feebleness and timidity” in their approach to overseeing Carillion’s financial statements and responsibilities.

Other critics of the FRC’s handling of audits and financial reporting include the Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, consultancy group PIRC, and former MEP Sharon Bowles.

The FRC oversees the UK’s corporate governance and stewardship codes, the latter of which was revised last year after the FRC pressured signatories over their compliance with its principles.

Stephen Haddrill, CEO, FRC

Stephen Haddrill has led the FRC since 2009

Haddrill was appointed CEO at the FRC in November 2009, having previously led the Association of British Insurers for four years. He also worked for the UK’s trade and industry department for several years.

He was appointed to the International Accounting Standards Board’s Financial Crisis Advisory Group in December 2008 to assess issues resulting from the global financial crisis.

Stephen Haddrill said: “I am incredibly proud to have led the FRC for nearly nine years. However, I believe that it should be the job of a new CEO to lead the FRC when the way ahead is decided.

“In the meantime, I remain fully committed to taking forward the FRC’s important programmes on audit reform, investor stewardship, corporate reporting and preparing the FRC for EU exit.”

Sir Win Bischoff, chairman of the FRC, added: “I would personally like to thank Stephen and also on behalf of the board, committees and councils of the FRC for his leadership and commitment over this significant period in our history.”

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  • Stephen Haddrill, CEO, FRC

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