Belfast man elected accountancy body president at first virtual AGM

New Chartered Accountants Ireland president Paul Henry
Gary McDonald Business Editor

A DIRECTOR with Belfast-based property consultancy Osborne King has been elected president of Chartered Accountants Ireland at the organisation's 132nd annual general meeting - but the first held virtually.

Paul Henry, who takes over from Conall O'Halloran, has extensive experience of real estate, insolvency and corporate finance.

And he said his key priority would be to harness the ability, experience and expertise of its membership network to support economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He told members: “This is, of course, primarily a public health crisis and businesses have rightly taken unprecedented steps to protect their staff and the public.

“But as we come through the immediate threat of the pandemic, we will face the significant challenge of rebuilding the economies of the island of Ireland.

“I believe that our 28,500 members working in leadership, finance or advisory roles throughout Irish business, will play a key role in kick-starting the recovery and ensuring that business bounces back strongly.

“It will be the challenge of a generation, requiring a collaborative approach between business, political leaders and the public sector.

“Chartered Accountants Ireland will be a strong supporter and advocate for the business community and the positive impact that a renewed economy can have for all throughout our society.”

Mr Henry said that as well as supporting its current members, CIA would work to highlight the opportunities available to a new generation of potential trainees within the profession.

He said: “Economic rebuilding will create opportunities, particularly in finance and leadership roles. We believe that chartered accountancy training is the best possible business education and is more flexible than ever before, creating great opportunities for those seeking to train, whether they are a school-leaver or an experienced business professional.”

Mr Henry qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989. Prior to his current role, he held positions with the Industrial Development Board, Enterprise Equity, PwC and ASM Chartered Accountants. He also served as chairman of Chartered Accountants Ulster Society in 2014.

At the virtual AGM, Pat O'Neill was elected deputy president and Sinead Donovan was elected vice-president.

The meeting here that the gender balance of the Institute's Council stands at 50:50. Progress is also being recorded at wider membership level, which is currently 42 per cent female and 58 per cent male.

The Institute currently represents more than 4,700 members in Northern Ireland.

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