Scottish accountancy giant Johnston Carmichael unveils shake-up of top team including CEO

“We are committed to building on this strong foundation as we introduce our vision for the future.”

Scottish accountancy giant Johnston Carmichael has unveiled a new leadership team, naming a new chief executive and senior partner, as it prepares to launch a “refreshed” strategy and continue growth across the UK.

The Aberdeen-headquartered firm has announced that Lynne Walker, formerly its vice chair, and head of business advisory, takes the CEO reins, and succeeds Andrew Walker, who has decided to step down after five years. The organisation’s chair Mark Houston becomes senior partner, and the duo will now together lead the business.

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Johnston Carmichael said that under Andrew Walker’s tenure, the firm opened a Newcastle office, grew its London team, and increased its headcount to more than 900 across the UK from 800, including appointing its first chief information officer, and chief people officer. Turnover has also grown, to about £68 million in the year ended 31 May 2023 from £51.4m in the 12 months ending 31 May 2020.

The firm has also now announced that Graham Marjoribanks, partner and head of audit, becomes vice chair, and Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences, becomes head of business advisory.

Lynne Walker, who is based in Elgin, where the accountancy and business advisory firm was founded almost 90 years ago, joined as a newly-qualified chartered accountant 19 years ago. She became audit director in 2014, and became head of business advisory in 2017 and a partner in 2019, joining the firm’s board in 2021 and being named vice chair in 2022.

She said: “It’s a great honour, alongside Mark, to be leading Johnston Carmichael at such an exciting time for the business. As a firm, we continue to navigate complex societal change that not only presents opportunities for our business but our clients too.

“I began my career in our firm as a newly-qualified chartered accountant nearly two decades ago, and I’m so proud we’re bringing more students and trainees into the business than ever before… We are committed to building on this strong foundation as we introduce our vision for the future, ensuring Johnston Carmichael continues to deliver for our clients, our people, and the communities we serve.”

Newly appointed senior partner Mark Houston and chief executive Lynne Walker. Picture: contributed.Newly appointed senior partner Mark Houston and chief executive Lynne Walker. Picture: contributed.
Newly appointed senior partner Mark Houston and chief executive Lynne Walker. Picture: contributed.

Houston, who joined Johnston Carmichael in 2006, became partner in 2008, and was selected to lead the Glasgow office in 2011, before being appointed to the board in 2013. He was appointed chair in 2022, and is also on the European board of global accounting, audit, and advisory network Moore Global.

He said: “Lynne and I have worked together for years and, with the support of the board and our excellent executive team, we believe that a joined-up and collaborative approach to leadership is what will help us deliver our refreshed strategy and continue our growth across the UK. Our business has grown considerably in recent years despite the tough economic backdrop and the challenges brought by a global pandemic.”

Houston also acknowledged the contribution of Andrew Walker, who spent 17 of his 20 years at Johnston Carmichael on its board, stating: “Andrew has played a significant part in our success story, and I would like to thank him for his contribution on behalf of the firm… We are incredibly proud of the advances we have made as a firm.”

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