Change in chair roles at accountancy giant Johnston Carmichael - as veteran Sandy Manson retires

Scottish accountancy giant Johnston Carmichael has named its new chair and vice chair – with current chair Sandy Manson retiring this month in what is deemed the end of an era.

The Aberdeen-based business said Mark Houston, partner and head of its Glasgow office, is moving up from his current role as vice chair to chair. Mr Houston, who joined Johnston Carmichael as a director in 2006, became partner in 2008, before being appointed to the board in 2013.

Lynne Walker, partner and head of business advisory, is stepping into the vice chair shoes. She is based out of the firm’s Elgin and Inverness offices, having started as a newly qualified chartered accountant in the firm’s audit team 17 years ago.

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After becoming audit director in 2014 she was promoted to head of business advisory in 2017, partner in 2019, and was among three partners to join the board last year.

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The pair take up their new roles as Mr Manson, the existing chair, retires at the end of the month after 31 years at the firm, having been chief executive for 12 years, seeing revenues increase from £18 million to £49m, and a workforce of 350 that has grown to more than 850 staff and partners.

The leadership changes come in the wake of Johnston Carmichael, which says it is now the largest independent firm in its sector in Scotland, recently announcing an increase in annual income despite the challenges of the pandemic.

It also said the promotions of Mr Houston and Ms Walker are part of its ongoing commitment to growing its own future leaders, adding that the duo will play a key role in helping it to retain and recruit the profession’s top talent.

From left: Lynne Walker, Mark Houston, and Sandy Manson. Picture: contributed.

Mr Manson said: “I feel very fortunate and incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to play my part in growing Johnston Carmichael into the leading firm it is today. [It] continues to thrive due to the commitment and passion of our people to deliver for our clients.

Strength

"We have always believed in building and passing the firm on to the next generation so they in turn can take it to new levels. Mark and Lynne have outstanding leadership capabilities and their appointments will help ensure Johnston Carmichael goes from strength to strength as an independent firm.”

Mr Houston said: “Sandy’s retirement is the end of an era at Johnston Carmichael, and we wish him the very best for the next chapter of his life. He has been an extraordinary leader and inspiration to all in our business.

“Our focus for the future is on investing in the learning and development of our people and our leadership culture, ensuring we continue to deliver the high performance and high-quality services that distinguish us in the marketplace."

Ms Walker stated: “The business has been fantastically supportive of my career since I joined 17 years ago, and I am committed to supporting the next generation of leaders of the firm. I am hugely looking forward to assuming the post of vice chair at Johnston Carmichael and working with Mark and the board to continue growing the positive, empowering culture we enjoy in our firm.

“In particular, I want to encourage more opportunities for our people to engage directly with the board.”

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