Leslie F. Seidman on Thursday was appointed chairman of FASB, effective immediately.
Seidman, who had been acting chairman since the retirement of Robert H. Herz on Sept. 30, has been a FASB member since 2003. Her appointment comes as FASB deals with an unprecedented workload to complete priority convergence projects with the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) by June.
FASB will also return to a seven-member structure from its current five-seat board. The Financial Accounting Foundation, FASB’s parent organization, says it is evaluating candidates for the two additional seats and expects to announce appointments in early 2011.
Herz welcomed the news of his successor. “Leslie’s appointment as chairman of the FASB is terrific news,” he told the JofA. “I am thrilled for her, for the FASB and for the financial reporting system. She is a great professional, has a thorough understanding of the challenges ahead, and was a wonderful colleague throughout my years working with her at the FASB.”
Seidman started her career as an auditor at Arthur Young & Co. (now Ernst & Young LLP) and later was a vice president in the accounting policies department of J.P. Morgan & Co. Inc., where she was responsible for establishing accounting policies for new financial products, particularly securities and derivatives, and analyzing and implementing new accounting standards. She went on to become a member of the FASB staff, and followed that experience by founding and managing a financial reporting consulting firm serving corporations, accounting firms and other organizations.
A graduate of Colgate University, she also earned an M.S. degree in accounting from New York University. She is a member of the AICPA, the American Women’s Society of CPAs and the Institute of Management Accountants.
“I am honored to be leading the FASB at such a pivotal time in our history,” Seidman said in a prepared statement. “The FASB remains committed to developing standards that will provide investors and other capital providers with decision-useful information. We are at a crucial point in our convergence program, and my fellow board members and I are working in close partnership with the IASB to improve the comparability of financial information around the world. We want our standards to enhance communication and confidence in financial reports, and we will continue to seek new ways to keep our stakeholders informed and engaged in the standard-setting process.”
“We look forward to working with Leslie and congratulate the FAF on her selection,” said AICPA President and CEO Barry Melancon. “This is a critical time for FASB, and in her short tenure as acting chair she has shown the skills, knowledge and passion to lead FASB effectively during these times.”
The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ), an AICPA affiliate, offered its congratulations. “The public company auditing profession looks forward to working with her as she oversees the development of U.S. accounting standards and coordinates convergence efforts with the International Accounting Standards Board,” said CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli.
—Matthew G. Lamoreaux (email@example.com) is a JofA senior editor.