Search ends for NAO replacement head

Mazars partner Gareth Davies has been selected as the government’s preferred candidate to succeed Sir Amyas Morse as the comptroller and auditor general, and head of the National Audit Office (NAO), subject to parliamentary approval

Davies leads on audit and advisory work for UK public services in his role at Mazars. He joined the firm in 2012 from the Audit Commission, where he was managing director, audit practice. He has 30 years’ experience of auditing and advising public bodies including local authorities, NHS organisations and central government agencies.

Davies will take up the post from 1 June 2019, following the conclusion of Morse’s ten-year term.

Lord Michael Bichard, chairman of NAO said: ‘Gareth is a successful business leader with the ideal blend of experience to lead the NAO. He brings strategic vision and a strong track record of engaging and influencing authoritatively at the highest levels, which will be important in navigating in such a complex political environment.

‘In the context of leaving the EU, the NAO’s role has never been more important than it is today and Gareth’s capacity to make difficult, independent and courageous audit judgements under pressure, will be an invaluable asset.

He shares the board’s enthusiasm for the NAO and has both the ambition and ability to continue the NAO’s success in making a real difference to the UK’s public finances and services.

‘Gareth continues in the footsteps of Sir Amyas Morse, who has made an outstanding contribution in driving public sector improvement and supporting parliament in responding to the challenges facing government. He will leave the NAO in a very strong and healthy position to cope with the likely challenges it will face in the future.’

Davies is a CIPFA fellow and an ICAEW member. He is also currently a trustee and honorary treasurer at Save the Children UK and a trustee at the Institute of Development Studies.

The appointment will be confirmed once the Prime Minister has moved a motion in parliament, as required under Section 11 of the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act 2011.

The comptroller and auditor general is the government official responsible for supervising the quality of public accounting and financial reporting.

Report by Pat Sweet

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