Knighthood for audit review head in New Year’s honours list

The recently-appointed head of an independent review into the UK audit market, Donald Brydon, is among those announced as included in the Queen’s New Year’s honours list, as is Jon Thompson, chief executive of HMRC

Brydon, the outgoing chair of the London Stock Exchange Group and former chair of Sage Group, is to receive a knighthood. He previously worked for 20 years at Barclays, and from 1997 to 2002 was the CEO of AXA Investment Managers SA. His six-year tenure as chairman of Royal Mail saw the controversial privatisation of the company.

In December 2018 it was announced that he would lead an independent review of the UK’s audit market, following a nine-month search for an independent chair. The review, which is being overseen by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will examine how auditing can evolve to meet the growing concerns of investors and shareholders.

Also honoured is Jon Thompson, the chief executive of HMRC, who is to be made a Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath (KCB) for public service. Thompson has been chief executive of HMRC since April 2016 when he succeeded Dame Lin Homer. He was previously permanent under-secretary of state at the Ministry of Defence (MoD).

In October 2018 he revealed that, after telling the Treasury Committee that a post-Brexit customs option could potentially cost £20bn, he received two death threats.

Gillian Aitkin, general counsel at HMRC, is to be made a Companion of the Order of the Bath. Patrick Mears, chair of the General Anti-Avoidance Rule (GAAR) panel and external consultant to HMRC is to receive an OBE for services to preventing abusive tax avoidance, as is Pauline Chelmsford, the deputy director of large businesses at HMRC for services to improving UK customs capability.

1,148 recipients are named in the 2019 New Year list, with 544 women are recognised. At 47% of the total, this is the lowest percentage since 2013.

The 2019 New Year's honours list is here

Report by James Bunney

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