Governance and leadership

Governance developements in 2019-20

Following resolutions approved at the 2017 AGM, 2019–20 has seen us begin to implement a series of governance reforms. These reforms are designed to strengthen oversight and increase organisational agility, specifically by:

  • ensuring members’ interests continue to be well represented across ACCA’s governance structures, with ACCA members remaining central in setting strategic direction and having oversight of the organisation
  • strengthening Council’s oversight in supporting and holding the Executive team to account for delivery of the strategy
  • future-proofing our governance by giving us the ability to grow and flex our arrangements as ACCA evolves and
  • enhancing the level of member engagement by Council members as required of a membership organisation of ACCA’s size and scale.

Introduction of the Council Board

In November 2019, we created a new Council Board. Reporting into the existing Council, the Council Board is designed to enable greater agility in decision-making and enhanced oversight. The Board has held two meetings during this reporting year.

Steamlining of the Council Committees

Alongside the introduction of the Council Board, we have streamlined the number of Council Committees, retaining Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, and a combined Nominating and Governance Committee.

As a result, our governance model has been updated in 2019–20.

ACCA’s Governance Model

  • Governance remit
  • Operational remit
ACCA's Governance Model diagram
ACCA's Governance Model diagram

Council - responsibilities and composition

To fulfil its role as outlined, Council’s responsibilities are to:

  • ensure that ACCA operates in the public interest and delivers the objectives stated in its Royal Charter
  • set the overall direction of ACCA through its contribution to the design of strategy with the Executive team and its overall approval of ACCA’s strategy
  • elect a president, deputy president and vice president to function as the leadership of ACCA’s membership
  • act as ambassadors for ACCA and engage with ACCA members
  • to explain and promote ACCA’s strategic direction
  • appoint a Council Board to ensure that effective governance structures are in place, which are aligned to the delivery of strategy and which provide appropriate challenge to, and oversight of, the Executive team’s plans for the implementation of strategy, including the achievement of targets for performance and outcomes, and
  • provide assurance to members at large as to sound financial and general management through an Audit Committee reporting to the Council Board (although the appointment of external auditors is reserved to the Annual General Meeting).

Council is currently composed of 39 members, 36 who have been directly elected and two who have been co‑opted, plus the immediate past president

Council 2019-20

  • Mohd Nasir Ahmad
  • Susan Allan
  • Liz Blackburn
  • Carol-Ann Boothe
  • Ben Catlin
  • Hidy Chan
  • Natalie Chan
  • Rosanna Choi
  • Orla Collins (vice president)
  • Sharon Critchlow
  • John Cullen
  • Matt Dolphin
  • Joyce Evans
  • Jenny Gu (president)
  • Cristina Gutu
  • Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan
  • Lorraine Holleway
  • Michelle Hourican
  • Paula Kensington
  • Arthur Lee
  • Dean Lee
  • Dato’ Lock Peng Kuan
  • Ayla Majid
  • Gillian McCreadie
  • Mark Millar (deputy president)
  • Brigitte Nangoyi Muyenga
  • Amos Ng
  • Joseph Owolabi
  • Taiwo Oyedele
  • Siobhan Pandya
  • Ronnie Patton
  • Melanie Proffitt
  • Marta Rejman
  • Brendan Sheehan
  • Robert Stenhouse (past president)
  • Dinusha Weerawardane
  • Matthew Wong
  • Alice Yip
  • Phoebe Yu

Council demographics

Council - sector

  • Corporate
  • Education
  • Practice
  • Professional services
  • Public sector

Council - region

  • Africa
  • Emerging markets
  • Europe & Americas
  • China
  • Middle East & South Asia

Council - gender

  • Female
  • Male

Council held three meetings
during the reporting year.

Council Board - responsibilities and composition

To fill its role as outlined, the Council Board’s chief responsibilities are:

  • to oversee the Executive team’s performance in delivering the five-year strategic outcomes set by Council
  • to oversee resource utilisation throughout the organisation
  • to approve annual targets (tracking performance against strategic outcomes)
  • to approve enabling strategies to deliver Council’s five-year strategy
  • to be accountable, and report, to Council regarding performance in delivering the five-year strategy, and
  • to oversee the work of the Audit and Remuneration Committees.

There are nine places on the Council Board held by the president (chair of the Board), vice president, deputy president, three nominated Council members, two appointed independent Board members and the chief executive (ex officio):

Jenny Gu FCCA

Chair (president)

Jenny Gu FCCA - Chair (president)

Currently working for the world’s second-largest luxury goods group Richemont as the CEO for China, Jenny is responsible for overall operational leadership and support to enable and empower China strategy and operations for 14 world-famous ‘maisons’, including Cartier, Vacheron, Constantin and Chloe.

Prior to Richemont, Jenny gained over 28 years’ experience in luxury, sports and retail, working in multinational companies and private equity firms, including Nike and TPG Capital, specialising in general management, sales and retail, finance, strategic planning and supply chain management, and company transformation. Jenny’s career has spanned mainland China, US, Hong Kong SAR of China, Singapore and Taiwan.

Jenny has an executive MBA from Kellogg-HKUST. She has also both a master’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Fudan University.

Mark Miller FCCA

Deputy president

Mark Miller FCCA - Deputy president

Aged 18, Mark turned down a university place to join the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) and study for the ACCA Qualification. After rising to finance director roles in the NHS, Mark moved on to chief executive positions at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust, Hospitals, Hounslow and Richmond Community Health services, and Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust, as well as serving as non-executive director of Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. He continues to be involved in NHS advisory committees.

Subsequently working in the charity sector, Mark retired from his post of chief executive at St Elizabeth Hospice in Ipswich in January 2020.

Mark has long been involved with our UK Health Panel, served on our International Assembly for two terms and joined Council in 2010.

Orla Collins FCCA

Vice president

Orla Collins FCCA - Vice president

Orla is interim managing director at Aberdeen Standard Investments Ireland. Before joining Aberdeen Standard Investments, she held a number of senior roles within the financial services industry including at Standard Life, Bank of Ireland and Pioneer Investments.

Orla is a qualified financial adviser, a member of the Institute of Bankers and a licentiate of the Association of Compliance Officers of Ireland. She's part of our ACCA Ireland members' committee and was its president in 2010-11.

Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA

Council member

Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA - Council member

Nasir Ahmad's accounting career started at Malaysia’s national power company, Tenaga Nasional, where he held various accounting and finance roles before becoming CEO of Malaysia Transformer Manufacturing in 1994.

He then joined SPK as CEO in 2000. From 2001–11, he was CEO of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional, the national entrepreneur development corporation.

He is currently chairman of CIMB Group Holdings and CIMB Bank (Cambodia). He also sits as independent director on the boards of CIMB Bank, SIRIM, Prokhas and as a member of the board of trustees of Yayasan Canselor UNITEN.

Nasir Ahmad is a former president of both the ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee and the Malaysian Institute of Accountants.

Ayla Majid FCCA

Council member

Ayla Majid FCCA - Council member

Ayla Majid is managing director financial advisory at Khalid Majid Rehman in Pakistan. She has 20 years of experience in transaction advisory, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate governance.

She is an international speaker and a strong advocate of sustainability, contributing to important themes such as digital transformation, Belt and Road Initiative, the future of work, the future of energy and sustainable infrastructure.

An independent director on boards in the energy, pharmaceutical and not-for-profit sectors, Ayla is both a Young Global Leader and a member of the Global Future Council of Energy of the World Economic Forum.

Ayla holds an MBA degree from Lahore University of Management Sciences and an LLB (Hons) from the University of London. She is also alumnus of Harvard Kennedy School, University of Oxford and Nanyang Technological University.

Lorraine Holleway FCCA

Council member

Lorraine Holleway FCCA - Council member

Lorraine has built her professional career in the oil and gas Industry with Shell, working in the UK, Netherlands and Middle East over the past 22 years.

Lorraine has worked in various roles across finance including operations manager within shared services, group reporting analyst and finance manager for Shell in the Netherlands. Lorraine is currently Shell’s finance controller in Qatar.

An ACCA Board member since 2019 and Council Member since 2013, Lorraine has previously chaired ACCA’s Resource Oversight Committee and participated in the ACCA Audit and Market Oversight Committees.

She specialises in accounting policies, financial reporting and continuous improvement, and has a passion for developing others through coaching and mentoring.

Anand Aithal

Non-Council member

Anand Aithal - Non-Council member

Anand brings significant experience in financial analysis, data analytics, fintech, economics, professional services and government to the Council Board.

He is currently a non-executive board member of the UK Cabinet Office and a non-executive director of Lifescale, a financial technology firm.

He is a trustee of two charities, Aldridge Education and Restless Development, that have a strong focus on social mobility, international development and youth employment.

Anand was previously a co-founder of Amba Investment Services, now Acuity Knowledge Partners, and a managing director at Goldman Sachs. He has lived and worked in the UK, Hong Kong SAR, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and the US. He holds an MA in economics from Cambridge University.

Daryl Fielding

Non-Council member

Daryl Fielding - Non-Council member

Daryl brings senior leadership experience in large, global and complex commercial organisations and deep experience of marketing to the Council Board.

She now has a portfolio of executive and non-executive roles. She is CEO of The Marketing Academy Foundation, a charity enabling young adults from tough backgrounds to start a career in marketing and is a trustee of The British Heart Foundation and Pelican Cancer Foundation.

Prior to this, she was brand marketing director at Vodafone UK, vice president, marketing at Mondelez Europe and commercial director of Independent Newspapers. Her advertising agency career highlights were leading Dove’s global “Campaign for Real Beauty” and New Labour’s advertising in the 1997 UK General Election.

She has lived in the UK and Switzerland and has a first-class BSc in Physiology from the University of London

Helen Brand OBE

Chief executive (ex officio)

Helen Brand OBE - Chief executive (ex officio)

Helen has built her career within professional bodies and has considerable experience and knowledge of the 176 markets across which ACCA currently operates. She's worked closely with the International Federation of Accountants in an advisory capacity over many years and is a founding member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and vice chair of the IIRC board.

A passionate advocate for the role ethics and the delivery of public value play in business and society, she was instrumental in ACCA becoming the first international professional body to publish an integrated report on its performance in 2011.

Council Board demographics

Council Board - regions

  • Europe & Americas
  • China
  • Middle East and South Asia

International Assembly

In addition to these formal governance bodies, ACCA also has a global representational body of members, the International Assembly, which contributes to the formulation and development of Council’s strategy by ensuring that it reflects and is relevant to the challenges facing the organisation and its members globally.

Future governance developments

From 2020 onwards, we’ll begin to implement changes to the composition of Council, increasing the number of seats to 45 and introducing a series of measures to ensure reflective geographical representation of our global membership.

Executive team

ACCA’s Executive team, led by the chief executive, is responsible for the delivery of ACCA’s agreed strategy and leading ACCA’s operations. The team consists of the chief executive and six executive directors. They are supported by a wider global leadership group of directors and other senior employees with significant operational and strategic responsibilities.

ACCA’s Executive team are:

Helen Brand, chief executive
Alan Hatfield, executive director – strategy and development
Julie Hotchkiss, executive director – people
Raymond Jack, executive director – finance and operations
Maggie McGhee, executive director – governance
Lucia Real Martin, lead market director (appointed 1 April 2019 for 12 months)
Leong Soo Yee, lead market director (appointed 1 April 2019 for 12 months).

Read Executive team Biographies

Lucia and Soo Yee become permanent members of the Executive team, responsible for leading markets activity, from 1 April 2020.

Executive team demographics

Executive team - gender

  • Female
  • Male

Five of the team members are based in the UK, one is based in the Netherlands and one is based in Singapore.

Executive team reward plan

Payment under the reward plan is determined by performance against the six strategic key performance indicators (KPIs) agreed by Council. This reward is a non-consolidated payment of up to 25% of the base salary of each Executive team member, 20% of which relates entirely to ACCA's strategic performance, with the remaining 5% allocated for personal performance. This arrangement is structured to reward behaviour and performance that is appropriate for ACCA and to focus the organisation on those elements of ACCA’s strategy to 2020 that Council believes require the greatest focus at a particular point in time.

The Remuneration Committee determines the level of award achieved against ACCA targets for all executive directors alongside the level of award against personal targets for the chief executive. In turn, the chief executive determines how much of the 5% personal performance award is allocated to each of the executive directors. The chief executive is not present when her remuneration is discussed.

In assessing ACCA performance, the framework includes the six measures and targets agreed by Council, all of which are externally audited. The Remuneration Committee agrees up to two ‘focus’ measures that determine the award size. Each KPI modifier missed will reduce the level of bonus earned under the focus measures by 10%, with the exception of budgeted net operating surplus/deficit, which will account for a 30% reduction in the level of award if it is missed. In this way, the Remuneration Committee seeks to ensure that it is reinforcing the importance of strong performance across ACCA’s balanced scorecard.

This is a fair, transparent reward solution that has been created in line with ACCA’s reward principles, supporting the achievement of our strategy and assessing performance over a meaningful period that reflects our focus on sustained performance, suitable for a long-term business. The basis of the award is transparent through the use of relevant and measurable performance targets that are clearly linked to driving value.

The Remuneration Committee has complete and sole discretion to moderate (up or down – including to 0%) the level of award determined if it does not believe the level adequately reflects underlying corporate performance or for any other reason.

Executive team remuneration

The total salary (including bonus and allowances) and benefits of the chief executive for the year ended 31 March 2020 was £417,424 (£441,427 for the year ended 31 March 2019). This includes a fixed non-pensionable allowance in lieu of pension benefits, introduced in August 2013 when the chief executive agreed to vary her contract of employment following the closure of the defined benefit pension scheme and an additional allowance in lieu of pension contributions.

Executive team salaries are benchmarked annually by independent experts from Aon. When reviewing the salaries of the members of the Executive team, the Remuneration Committee takes into account the salary increases applying to the rest of the workforce and external benchmark data collected by Aon. External remuneration benchmark data is obtained primarily against general industry and also with a focus on pay in other professional membership associations (including a sub-group of accountancy associations, with a particular focus on those bodies that ACCA measures itself against in the market share element of our brand power measure). Salaries are within 80% to 120% of the benchmarked range, depending on experience, expertise and the organisation’s need to retain.

The base salaries of the chief executive and executive directors at 31 March 2020 are shown below on a banded basis:

    Number of employees (2019-20) Number of employees
£340,000—£369,999 1 0
£310,000—£339,999 0 1
£220,000—£249,999 1 1
£190,000—£219,999 5 2
£160,000—£189,999 0 2
  1 0
  0 1
  1 1
  5 2
  0 2

During 2019–20, the total reward distributed to the Executive team (including the chief executive) was £65,421 based on performance for the year ended 31 March 2019 (£185,083 for the year ended 31 March 2018).

Remuneration for 2019-20

In light of the economic environment and uncertainty created by the Covid-19 outbreak, the chief executive recommended to the Remuneration Committee that the Executive team will forgo any performance-related remuneration in respect of 2019-20 performance and their salaries should be frozen for the coming year. The Committee approved these proposals.