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ICAEW announces executive appointments and leadership team changes

Author: ICAEW Insights

Published: 31 Mar 2021

ICAEW has made two Board-level changes with the appointments of a new Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer and announced further adjustments to its senior leadership team structure.

Sharron Gunn has been appointed Chief Operating Officer (COO) and is now responsible for the overall operational efficiency of the organisation. She will oversee the majority of functions supporting ICAEW’s students and members including Learning and Development, Technical Strategy, Commercial, Digital, Brand and Marketing. Sharron joined ICAEW in 2001 from J Sainsbury's plc and most recently was ICAEW Executive Director for Members, Commercial and Shared Services.

Dabinder Hutchinson becomes ICAEW’s first Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and will be responsible for the Finance, IT, Property and Central Operations teams. Dabinder joined ICAEW last year as Director of Finance and Operations from the renewable energy sector. 

The new appointments are effective from 1 April 2021 and come as ICAEW re-aligns its management structure around a new 10-year strategy with its vision of a world of sustainable economies enabled by ICAEW chartered accountants.

Vernon Soare, ICAEW’s current COO, and Mark Protherough, Executive Director for Learning and Professional Development, both leave the organisation this week with ICAEW’s best wishes.

Both appointments report to Chief Executive (CEO) Michael Izza, who commented “Following a rigorous selection process involving ICAEW Council and Board members, I am delighted to announce the appointments of Sharron and Dabinder as our new Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer, respectively. 

“Sharron and Dabinder have already achieved a great deal in their time at ICAEW and both have a deep understanding of the vital role our members play in supporting businesses and economies around the world,” he continued.

From 1 April 2021, the CEO, COO and CFO roles will form the executive representation on the main ICAEW Board. Robert Hodgkinson, Executive Director for Technical Strategy, will take on a new role as Senior Strategic Advisor, reporting to the CEO. He remains a member of ICAEW’s senior leadership team alongside Duncan Wiggetts, Chief Officer, Professional Standards. 

Commenting on her appointment, Sharron Gunn said she was “proud to take on the role of Chief Operating Officer and look forward to working with colleagues, students and members to navigate the challenges and opportunities facing the accountancy profession in the lead-up to ICAEW’s 150th anniversary in 2030.”

Dabinder Hutchinson added: “I’m honoured to be joining the ICAEW Board as the institute’s Chief Financial Officer. The CFO is a critical role within any organisation and I will continue to add value and challenge the business to achieve its strategy. Finance, IT and Property are huge areas of focus for ICAEW over the next decade and creating efficiencies and timely investments in these areas, while keeping an eye on the future, is vital.”

In a further change to the senior leadership structure, ICAEW has created four Managing Directors (MD). These are internal appointments and report to new COO Sharron Gunn.

  1. David Franklin - MD, Belonging and Supporting 
    David will be responsible for leading, developing and delivering ICAEW’s strategy supporting its members and growing commercial activities. He is currently Director for ICAEW Communities. 

  2. Hazel Garvey - MD, Education and Training
    Hazel will be responsible for leading, developing and delivering ICAEW’s education and training strategy. She is currently Business Development Director for Learning and Professional Development.

  3. Iain Wright - MD, Reputation and Influence
    Iain will be responsible for ensuring that ICAEW leverages its world-class technical and policy expertise. He is currently Director for Business and Industrial Strategy.
  4. Mark Billington - MD, International
    Mark will be responsible for leading ICAEW’s activities outside the UK to grow student numbers, encourage member engagement and develop the international capacity building programme. He is currently Regional Director, Greater China and South East Asia, based in Singapore.

A full list of members can be found on ICAEW’s Board page