FASB Chooses Insider as New Chairman

Russell Golden, board member and former chair of the emerging issues task force, will replace Leslie Seidman as chair of the accounting standards s...
Kathy HoffelderApril 23, 2013

The Financial Accounting Foundation (FAF), overseer of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), chose FASB board member and former staff member Russell G. Golden to be its next chairman. He will replace Leslie Seidman, whose second term expires in June.

Golden, whose term starts on July 1, has been a FASB board member since September 2010 and previously was a member of the board’s staff for six years. On staff he was technical director, also known as the lead staff position at the FASB. In addition, he chaired FASB’s Emerging Issues Task Force, which works to improve financial reporting.

Outgoing chairman Seidman noted on a press call Tuesday that Golden has “a great background for taking the reins [of] this organization.” She added that Golden has a very good understanding of what the staff’s role is and what the board needs to make informed decisions. “I am very confident he has the skills that it takes to do an effective job in this role.” FAF considered 100 candidates before selecting Golden.

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As chairman, Golden plans to initially focus on converging accounting standards globally. He indicated as much on the call: “I believe convergence is extremely important,” Golden said. “I am looking forward to working with the IASB [International Accounting Standards Board] to try to arrive at improved converged conclusions. The fact that FASB was invited to join the Accounting Standards Advisory Forum [an advisory group on financial reporting to the IASB] is a good thing. I think that participating in this is consistent with the FASB’s long-term objectives of promoting greater convergence in financial accounting standards.”

Both the FASB and IASB have made progress in accounting convergence but they still differ on several issues, such as accounting for credit losses and revenue recognition. Under Golden’s guidance, the board will concentrate on those issues as well as the accounting for leases and insurance contracts.

Of the outstanding issues, revenue recognition could see some renewed focus, however. According to Golden, changes to the way companies account for revenue recognition could be on tap shortly. “We are close to issuing a very important converged solution on revenue recognition, which I have been working on for a number of years and believe it will be a good success,” said Golden.

FASB will also look to continue its efforts on improving the accounting for private companies through its work with the FAF’s Private Company Council (PCC). “I believe the PCC is off and running and doing an absolute fantastic job. There’s great commitment between the members of the PCC and the members of the [FASB] board to make the PCC, and really financial reporting standards for private companies, a success,” he said.  Earlier this month, FASB and the PCC jointly asked for comments on an updated private-company decision-making framework.

Golden’s initial term as FASB chairman will extend to June 30, 2017. He then will be eligible to serve another term of three years, but FASB members are limited to serving a total of ten years on the board.

Though Seidman’s chapter at FASB is closing, it is not likely to be the last time her name is mentioned. After a break this summer to spend time with family, Seidman said on the call that she “will be exploring new leadership opportunities in both the public and the private sector.” 

Prior to his work at FASB, Golden was a partner at Deloitte & Touche in the National Office Accounting Services department.

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