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FASB's Russ Golden Replaces Seidman as Chairman

Tammy Whitehouse | April 23, 2013

FASB member Russ Golden will take over as chairman at the Financial Accounting Standards Board when the term for present Chairman Leslie Seidman ends on June 30.

The Financial Accounting Foundation appointed Golden to a four-year term ending June 30, 2017, after which he could serve an additional three-year term if reappointed. FASB members are eligible to serve on the board for a total of 10 years, and Golden was appointed to the board initially in September 2010. He joined the board after spend six years on the FASB staff, most recently as technical director responsible for overseeing all of FASB's technical staff.

Robert Stewart, a spokesman for FAF and FASB, said the search firm that was engaged to help identify a new FASB chairman collected more than 100 resumes and interviewed many of those candidates. Ultimately, they determined Golden was best qualified because he understands both the technical accounting issues and the broader business and political environment that is affected by the board's work. In a statement, FAF Chairman Jeffrey Diermeier said he is pleased Golden is moving into the chairman's role.

As FASB reaches the end stages of some massive changes in accounting standards, Golden's transition from board member to chairman provides a sense of continuity on some key accounting standards around financial instruments, impairment, revenue recognition, and leasing. When a split FASB recently voted to issue an exposure draft for a revised lease accounting standard that constituents are already criticizing as excessively complex, Golden sided with the majority to proceed as planned. Stewart said FAF leadership was focused on selecting the best person to take over the position. “After considering 100 candidates, the conclusion was that Russ was the best person,” he said. “That was the ultmost consideration.”

Golden said one of his key priorities for the board is to bring to completion those key projects to converge U.S. accounting standards with international standards. “I believe convergence is extremely important,” he said. “I'm looking forward to working with the IASB as we try to arrive at improved, converged conclusions.” He also wants to focus on working with the new Private Company Council to bring about improvements in accounting standards for the sake of private companies.

Seidman said she plans to take “a quick break” over the summer to spend time with her family and then will explore new leadership opportunities in both the public and private sector. Seidman steps down on June 30 after 15 years at FASB, five on the staff, also serving as technical director before being appointed to the board in 2003. Seidman was appointed to a second five-year term in 2005, then was appointed chairman in September 2010 when Bob Herz resigned abruptly while carrying a torch for fair value for financial instruments. FASB's first proposal in its effort to overhaul financial instrument accounting under Herz's leadership called for far more use of fair value than the board is proposing today.

A third member of FASB, Larry Smith, also received his appointment to the board after serving as FASB's technical director. There's no word on whether the present technical director, Sue Cosper, aspires to the vacancy created by Seidman's departure and Golden's subsequent promotion. Stewart said the FAF board is launching a new search for a new board member, but it doesn't have a time line for making an appointment.