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 five 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:

  • Male
  • Female

Helen Brand

chief executive

Alan Hatfield

executive director – strategy and development

Steve Heathcote

executive director – markets

Julie Hotchkiss

executive director – people (appointed Nov. 2018)

Raymond Jack

executive director – finance and operations

Maggie McGhee

executive director – governance (appointed Sept. 2018).

Payment under the reward plan is determined by
performance against six strategic KPIs
agreed by Council.

Executive team reward plan


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 (Our strategic performance in 2018-19), with the remaining 5% allocated for personal performance. 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 to 2020 which 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. The remaining four KPIs act as modifying measures; for each of these measures not achieved, 15% of the award pool released by the achievement of the focus KPIs is deducted. 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.

For the year ended 31 March 2019, the two focus targets are number of members (Vision) and student progression targets (Develop). The remaining four hurdle targets are net operating deficit/surplus (Our difference); number of students and affiliates (Attract); member and student satisfaction (Sustain) and brand power (Lead).

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 2019 was £441,427 (£415,167 for the year ended 31 March 2018). 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.

Base salaries

Chief executive and executive directors at 31
March 2018 are shown below on a banded basis:

Number of employees
Number of employees
£310,000 – £339,999 0 1
£280,000 – £309,999 1 0
£220,000 - £249,999 0 1
£190,000 – £219,999 2 2
£160,000 – £189,999 2 2

Changes to the Executive team in 2018-19 and in the future


Following Peter Large’s retirement, Maggie McGhee was appointed as executive director – governance in September 2018. Julie Hotchkiss was appointed to the newly created post of executive director – people in November 2018. In this new role, Julie oversees the People function, leading the HR Delivery and Talent and Organisational Capability teams, and is responsible for ensuring that the people agenda is fully aligned with the organisation’s strategy.

During 2018-19, reward distributed to the Executive team (including the chief executive) was £185,083 based on performance for the year ended 31 March 2018 (£196,288 for the year ended 31 March 2017).

After a decade on the Executive team, Steve Heathcote will leave ACCA in May 2019 to become chief executive of PrimeGlobal. We have appointed two of our existing market directors – Soo Yee Leong and Lucia Real-Martin – as lead market directors for 2019-20, reporting to the chief executive and taking over Steve’s remit on the Executive team for the next 12 months.

During the year, the two non-executive advisers to the Executive team (Julia Bond and Barrie Jackson) reached the end of their fixed-term appointments. In view of the upcoming changes to ACCA’s governance arrangements – which will include the appointment of two non-executive members to the Council Board – new non-executive advisers to the Executive team were not recruited for 2018-19.


Detailed corporate governance statement


We also publish a detailed annual corporate governance statement on our integrated report website. This contains further information on the extent to which our governance arrangements meet the UK Corporate Governance Code, as issued by the UK Financial Reporting Council in July 2018, and details of the work of our various Council committees and boards.