12 Governance,
leadership and

Our governance and leadership is formed of our Council, our Council Board and our Executive team. Working together, they are responsible for developing and leading on the execution of ACCA’s strategic vision, on behalf of our members.

ACCA’s Governance Model

A chart showing the ACCA Governance model, a full description can be found at accaglobal.com/ourleadership
A chart showing the ACCA Governance model, a full description can be found at accaglobal.com/ourleadership

Following resolutions approved at the 2017 AGM, we have continued rolling out our programme of governance reforms. These innovations 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
  • providing the agility to enable us to better respond to emerging opportunities and threats
  • enhancing the level of member engagement by Council members as required of a membership organisation of ACCA’s size and scale.


Reforms in 2020-21

In November 2020, we began the second phase of these reforms, which will see us increase the size of Council over three years from 36 to 45 members, equally phased as three additional seats per year. To ensure geographical diversity of representation, we have implemented a mechanism of ‘caps and collars’, with:

  • a cap of equal to or no more than 50% of Council members coming from the same region
  • a collar of at least one Council member from each ACCA region.

Election by the global membership remains the primary process for populating Council, with full transparency on the caps and collars in place as the mechanism for reserved places. Should the cap be triggered following a Council election, the election results would be used to take the lowest ‘successful’ candidate in the election from that region and replace with the next highest ‘unsuccessful’ candidate not from that region. Should the collar be triggered, this is filled through the co-option route, via recommendation from the Nominating and Governance Committee to Council.

The three additional places on Council created in 2020 were all filled through election, with the cap or collar mechanism not being triggered.


Council - responsibilities and composition

To fulfil its role as outlined, Council’s main 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
  • 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 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
  • 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 for the Annual General Meeting).

Council 2020-21

Alice Yip

Amos Ng

Arthur Lee

Ayla Majid

Babajide Ibironke

Ben Catlin

Brendan Sheehan

Brigitte Nangoyi Muyenga

Carol-Ann Boothe

Cristina Gutu

Datuk Zaiton Mohd Hassan

Dean Lee

Den Surfraz

Dinusha Weerawardane

Gillian McCreadie

Jenny Gu (past president)

John Cullen

Joseph Owolabi (vice president)

Joyce Evans

Kevin Fitzgerald

Liz Blackburn

Lock Peng Kuan

Lorraine Holleway

Mark Millar (president)

Marta Rejman

Maryam Abisola Adefarati

Matt Dolphin

Matthew Wong

Melanie Proffitt

Michelle Hourican

Mohd Nasir Ahmad

Natalie Chan

Nauman Asif Mian

Orla Collins (deputy president)

Oxana Losevskaya

Paula Kensington

Phoebe Hao Yu

Ronnie Patton

Sharon Critchlow

Siobhan Pandya

Susan Allan

Council demographics

Council - gender
Council - region
Greater China
Emerging markets
Europe & Americas
Middle East & South Asia
Council - sector
Financial services
Public sector

Council held five meetings during the reporting year.


Council Board – responsibilities and composition

To fulfil 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
  • oversee resource utilisation throughout the organisation
  • approve annual targets (tracking performance against strategic outcomes)
  • approve enabling strategies to deliver Council’s five-year strategy
  • be accountable, and report, to Council regarding performance in delivering the five-year strategy
  • 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):

Chair (president) Mark Millar FCCA

Chair (president)
Mark Millar FCCA

Aged 18, Mark turned down a university place to join the NHS and study for the ACCA Qualification. After rising to Finance Director roles in the NHS, Mark moved on to Chief Executive roles at Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Hinchingbrooke Hospital NHS Trust, Hospitals, Hounslow and Richmond Community Heath services, and Southern Norfolk Primary Care Trust, as well 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 of 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.

Deputy president Orla Collins FCCA

Deputy president
Orla Collins FCCA

Orla is interim managing director at Aberdeen Standard Investments Ireland Ltd. 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 advisor and 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.

Vice president Joseph Owolabi FCCA

Vice president
Joseph Owolabi FCCA

Joseph is CEO at Rubicola Consulting – a green finance advisory firm. His previous senior management roles are as director at Deloitte Asia Pacific, senior manager at PwC Australia, and leader of EY West Africa’s Climate Change and Sustainability Services. Before his election to Council in 2015, he was a member of ACCA’s International Assembly.

He has made significant contributions to the profession as a champion for the implementation of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) across Africa, and pioneer advisor for the global adoption of non-financial reporting (sustainability and integrated reporting). He assisted in the issuance of the first Sovereign Green Bond from an emerging market.

Joseph holds a Master of Arts degree from the York St. John University and he has attended executive programmes at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Business School. He is also a Certified Internal Auditor.

Council member Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA

Council member
Mohd Nasir Ahmad FCCA

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

He then joined SPK Berhad as CEO in 2000. From 2001-2011, he was CEO of Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional Berhad, the national entrepreneur development corporation.

He is currently Chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Berhad, CIMB Bank Berhad and CIMB Bank PLC (Cambodia). He also sits as Independent Director of SIRIM Berhad and Prokhas Sdn Bhd besides being a Trustee of Yayasan Canselor UNITEN and Perdana Leadership Foundation. On 1 May 2021, he was appointed Chairman of the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board and Member of the Financial Reporting Foundation.

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

Council member Lorraine Holleway FCCA

Council member
Lorraine Holleway FCCA

After joining ACCA in 2001 and starting her career in finance with small manufacturing companies, Lorraine has spent most of her professional life in the oil and gas industry.

She has worked in various roles for Shell and is head of accounting policy based in the Netherlands. Lorraine previously worked as a group reporting business analyst and finance learning manager for Shell in the Netherlands and as financial controller for Qatar Shell in Qatar.

Lorraine chairs our Global Forum for Corporate Reporting.

She specialises in accounting policies, financial reporting and process improvement.

Council member Marta Rejman FCCA

Council member
Marta Rejman FCCA

Marta is the Head of Shared Services Centre for Publicis Groupe. She is responsible for Finance, HR, Legal and IT services provided to CEE, Baltic and Nordic regions.

Marta has spent six years as the Director of the European Finance Centre, building the JLL Shared Services Operation for the EMEA region.

Before that, she has held positions of CFO and Deputy Director Finance and Administration at ING Lease both in Poland and Germany.

She served for six years on the board of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and was also a member of its Audit Committee and Finance and Planning Committee.

Marta has a degree from Warsaw School of Economics and an MBA from the University of Calgary. She was a member of our first Poland committee in 2006 and has also been part of our International Assembly.

Non-Council member Anand Aithal

Non-Council member
Anand Aithal

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 Ltd, a financial technology firm and BPL (Holdings) Limited, a specialty insurance broker.

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 United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, India, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and the United States. He holds a MA in Economics from Cambridge University.

Non-Council member Daryl Fielding

Non-Council member
Daryl Fielding

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 Election.

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

Chief executive (ex officio) Helen Brand OBE

Chief executive (ex officio)
Helen Brand OBE

Helen has built her career within professional bodies and has considerable experience and knowledge of the 178 markets in which ACCA currently operates. She is a founding member of the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) and now serves as a co-Vice-Chair of the IIRC Board. A member of the UK’s government’s Professional and Business Service Council, she was also appointed to the UK DIT’s Trade Advisory Group on Professional Advisory Services in August 2020.

One of the few women to lead a global professional body, Helen is a regular media commentator on the role ethics and the delivery of public value play in business and society. In 2011, ACCA became the first international professional body to publish an integrated report on its performance and Helen remains a strong advocate for the power of wider corporate reporting. She has also driven ACCA’s pioneering work in supporting the development of the profession across Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, Europe and the Middle East.

Helen holds a BA in Politics from the University of Exeter. She was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2011 for services to accountancy and received an honorary doctorate from the University of Exeter in December 2017.

Board members are appointed for a one-year term.

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.


Executive team – responsibilities and composition

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 and transformation
Raymond Jack, executive director – finance and operations
Maggie McGhee, executive director – governance
Lucia Real Martin, executive director – markets
Leong Soo Yee, executive director – markets

Having served as lead market directors for the performance year 2019-20, Lucia and Soo Yee were appointed as permanent members of the Executive team on 1 April 2020.

Following organisational changes announced in March 2021, Alan becomes executive director – content, quality and innovation, and Maggie becomes executive director – strategy and governance, with effect from 1 April 2021, reflecting changes to their portfolios.


Biographies and details of the responsibilities of Executive team members are online at: https://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en/about-us/who-we-are/meet-executive-team.html

Executive team demographics

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

Executive team reward plan

On an annual basis, the Remuneration Committee uses the corporate strategic measures and targets agreed by the Council Board to determine the reward plan for the Executive team for that year. This arrangement is structured to reward behaviour and performance that is appropriate for ACCA and focus the organisation on those elements of ACCA’s Strategy which the Council Board believes require the greatest focus at a particular point in time.

Under the reward plan, members of the Executive team are eligible to receive a maximum payment of 25% of base salary per annum of which 20% is assessed against ACCA performance over the financial year and the remaining 5% is determined by personal performance. The Remuneration Committee determines the level of award up to 20% 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.

This is a fair, transparent reward solution which 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, which are subject to external audit and 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 bonuses and allowances paid) and benefits of the chief executive for the year ended 31 March 2021 was £394,074 (£417,424 for the year ended 31 March 2020). 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.

In March 2020, 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 would forgo any performance-related remuneration in respect of 2019-20 performance and their salaries would be frozen for the 2020-21 financial year. The Committee approved these proposals.

The base salaries of the chief executive and executive directors at 31 March 2021 are shown below on a banded basis:

Number of employees
Number of employees
£310,000 – £349,999 Number of employees
Number of employees
£230,000 – £269,999 Number of employees
Number of employees
£190,000 – £229,999 Number of employees
Number of employees


ACCA relies on a diverse global workforce in order to deliver its strategy. At 31 March 2021, ACCA counted 1,404 full-time equivalent employees.

Employee gender diversity

*Executive team and their direct reports

Employee engagement index

This year, we’ve introduced a new, simpler and more tailored survey tool, administered by Glint, to track employee engagement. We survey ACCA’s global workforce twice a year to measure engagement, assess how we’re doing on our culture change journey and identify challenges and issues we need to address.

In both our April 2020 and October 2020 surveys, our overall engagement score met the external global benchmark of 74%:

April 2020

of employees said they were happy working at ACCA and would recommend ACCA as a great place to work (based on 82% response rate)

October 2020

of employees said they were happy working at ACCA and would recommend ACCA as a great place to work (based on 79% response rate)

We performed well in terms of our teams understanding ACCA’s strategy and how they contribute to ACCA’s success. Ratings for 'My Manager' and 'My Team' were also highlights, with working relationships and teamwork coming through as real positives.

Things identified that we need to work on are helping people feel empowered, supporting people with personal growth, and continuing to support and communicate transparently through times of change and uncertainty. We have organisational and team action plans to address these focus areas and drive continuous improvement in our employee experience.


Organisational changes in 2020-21

Over the past year, we’ve undertaken an extensive review looking at changes we need to make to best serve our members and future members as we look ahead. A key driver of this review has been increasing our effectiveness and agility in these times of uncertainty and disruption.

To enable this, we announced some organisational changes in March 2021 designed to increase our future ability to create maximum value for our members, future members and the wider community. The key changes proposed are:

Centre of excellence for insights and analytics

In conjunction with the change to executive director portfolios, we will establish a centre of excellence for insights and analytics, which will bring together the work that informs strategic decision-making and strategic performance, and sit within the strategy team.


We will make changes within Governance to streamline the leadership structure and bring specialisms together. 

Reviewing spans and layers

We have started to review spans and layers of control across ACCA to make a shift towards a flatter organisation structure and broader roles. This has informed proposed changes across a number of directorates to improve decision-making, consolidate activities and enrich opportunities, and drive efficiency and agility.

Support teams

We have reviewed our support teams – specifically HR – to bring these in line with external benchmarks as new digital capabilities come online. 

Customer service

We have reviewed our customer service structure to ensure that we’re serving our customers in the most effective way.

A model and structure for market teams

We have developed a model and structure for our Markets teams, refining spans and layers, removing the potential for duplication, driving consistency of roles across markets, and bringing together market clusters to facilitate greater cross-border working and deliver maximum effectiveness.

These changes have resulted in a total net reduction of 48 roles globally. We have also closed 58 vacancies across ACCA, which will not be filled.


UK gender and ethnicity pay gap reporting

This year we committed to publishing both our UK gender and – for the first time – our UK ethnicity pay gaps. A detailed combined report includes the results of our gender and ethnicity pay gap analysis, as well as a full narrative describing the actions we have already taken, and those we intend to take going forward, to continue to improve our pay differentials. https://www.accaglobal.com/uk/en/about-us/annual-reports.html

During the year – and to support this work – we had a particular focus on diversity and inclusion, establishing three employee groups dedicated to Wellbeing, Ethnicity and LGBTQIA+, and creating a formal inclusion and diversity steering group.


Modern Slavery Act commitment

We are committed to acting ethically and with integrity in all our business dealings and relationships. We act on this commitment by implementing and enforcing effective systems and controls to ensure that modern slavery is not taking place in our organisation or in any of our supply chains.

We expect the same high standards from our suppliers, contractors and other business partners, and as part of our contracting process we include prohibitions against the use of forced, compulsory or trafficked labour, or anyone held in slavery or servitude. We expect that our suppliers will hold their own suppliers to the same high standards.

Our Executive team has overall accountability for ensuring that our organisation complies with this policy and for monitoring its use and effectiveness, as well as the auditing of internal control systems and procedures.