William McDonough Selected to Head PCAOB

William McDonough

The wait is over to find out who will lead the accounting reform charge at the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board.

William McDonough, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, was named today to the position of Chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board. He will start at the $556,000 a year position after being fully vetted and voted on by the SEC Board.

Mr. McDonough's background is in banking and government, and he holds a Masters Degree in Economics. Mr. McDonough is not an accountant.

Mr. McDonough joined the New York Fed in January 1992, as executive vice president and head of the Markets Group, which has responsibility both for the implementation of monetary policy and for foreign exchange activities. Some 18 months later, on July 19, 1993, he was named president of the bank upon the retirement of E. Gerald Corrigan. Earlier this year he announced his intention to resign his position as President effective July 21, 2003.

Mr. McDonough's appointment to this position comes somewhat under the radar screen, as his name was not openly discussed in "insiders circles" of potential candidates for the position.

The AICPA has issued a statement of support for Mr. McDonough's appointment: "The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants welcomes the appointment of a chairman to head the PCAOB. While much hard work has been done, William McDonough's appointment is a critical step in moving the process forward. Mr. McDonough has a distinguished record of service to our financial system and markets. The AICPA and members of our profession look forward to working with him, other members of the PCAOB board and PCAOB staff as they continue their important work."

In an exclusive interview with AccountingWEB, AICPA President Barry Melancon indicated he has "not met Mr. McDonough before, and looks forward to building a relationship with him so that we produce a win-win."

In his new role, Mr. McDonough will succeed acting Chairman Charles Niemeier as head of the PCAOB. Mr. Niemeier stepped in as acting Chairman upon the resignation of William Webster, the SEC's original choice to head the oversight group. Mr. Webster resigned from the position last fall when it was revealed that he was involved as an audit committee member of a company that was under investigation for accounting irregularities.

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