Rob Whiteman has today announced his plans to retire in June 2024, stepping down from the role of CIPFA CEO that he has held for the past decade.
Under his leadership, the organisation has gone through significant transformation and tackled many initial challenges. It has seen strong growth in its international student numbers and advisory services while continuing to grow and support its UK membership, establishing itself as the leading global voice of sound public financial management.
Most recently, Whiteman announced an exciting new partnership with ICAEW, culminating in both Institutes signing a joint declaration to work closely together including an accelerated route for students to gain CPFA and ACA designations and dual membership.
Work to find a successor will begin immediately, with a recruitment agency having been appointed to lead the search for a new CEO.
Previous CEO roles include the UK Border Agency, the Improvement & Development Agency (IDeA) and London Borough of Barking & Dagenham, which in 2008 achieved ‘Most improved council of the year’ award under his leadership.
Rob Whiteman, CIPFA CEO, said:
“I would like to thank members and those involved in CIPFA’s governance for their support in delivering such considerable change. We are a modern and effective organisation with a sound financial platform and strong policy voice that has fused our charitable objectives with commercial growth.
“It’s never an easy decision, but the time feels right for me now to retire as a CEO and concentrate on making a contribution in a different way through a portfolio. And, a little more time for myself and the family will be nice too.
“I’m sure CIPFA’s best years lie ahead, and I look forward to seeing it go from success to success, not least by building on our new partnership with ICAEW.”
Caroline Rassell, CIPFA President, said:
“Rob has been a fantastic steward for CIPFA. His knowledge of public finance and accountancy and his passion for public services will be sorely missed by all of us who have had the pleasure of working with him and the Institute over the years.
“I know that he will be leaving CIPFA in a much stronger position than when he took on the role. We lose a major advocate and trusted voice.”
Cat Little, Head of the Government Finance Function and Second Permanent Secretary to HM Treasury, said:
“Rob has led the Institute with passion and conviction through some of the biggest challenges facing the public sector and our profession. It is an exciting time for CIPFA and its membership, thanks to Rob's leadership and stewardship. We will miss him greatly and look forward to supporting Rob and his successor through the transition.”
Catherine Francis, Department for Levelling up, Housing and Communities Director General for Local Government, Resilience and Communities, said:
“As Chief Executive of CIPFA, Rob Whiteman has been a constant source of wisdom and expertise on the subject of local government finance, both for leaders in the sector and central government.
“He has been integral to strengthening and guiding the finance function in the sector, supporting leaders and officers in their vital work, and advocating for local government with ministers and civil servants in a persuasive and constructive way. I wish him all the best for the future, with grateful thanks for his contribution.”
Sir Tony Redmond, who as CIPFA President appointed Whiteman to the role, said:
“Throughout his term of office, Rob has demonstrated outstanding vision, leadership and enterprise in developing CIPFA’s brand in very positive way.
“His thoughtful, engaging and perceptive style has also been a major asset for the Institute, operating in a challenging environment, in terms of public finance and the Institute’s membership.”
Kevin Dancey, International Federation of Accountants CEO, said:
“Rob Whiteman’s contributions to the accountancy profession and the public sector have been significant, meaningful and long-lasting. His leadership of CIPFA over the last decade, his service to the IFAC Board as a technical advisor, and his extensive public sector career have all helped advance the importance of and progress of public sector accountancy.
“On behalf of IFAC, I would like to thank Rob for his dedicated service to the accountancy profession, and his unwavering commitment to the public interest. And personally, I would like to thank Rob for his friendship and partnership over the years, with respect and admiration for all he has done.”
Speaking about Whiteman’s longer CEO career and roles before CIPFA, Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council, said:
“Rob’s contribution to Barking & Dagenham to tackle head-on significant community cohesion issues whilst improving services and laying the foundations for our regeneration all remain hugely appreciated.
“Whilst retiring from CIPFA, I am sure he will be busy and continue to make valuable contributions.”
Joanna Killian, Surrey County Council Chief Executive, said:
“CIPFA are losing an incredibly experienced, diligent and well-respected leader in Rob. He has been a supportive peer throughout my local government career, his advice has always been sound and helpful. Rob’s knowledge and expertise is second to none and he will be missed by the sector. I wish him well in his retirement from CIPFA.”
Gareth Davies, National Audit Office Comptroller and Auditor General, said:
“Rob has made a huge contribution to public service, showing leadership in tough situations and speaking up for responsible financial management.”
Whiteman joined CIPFA in 2013, having held a number of previous CEO appointments. Prior to this he served as Deputy CEO and Director of Resources at London Borough of Lewisham.
He is also currently a Technical Advisor at the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and Chair of University Hospitals Dorset NHS Foundation Trust.
Read Rob's retirement letter to CIPFA's President, Board Chair and Senior NED.
For more information please contact the CIPFA press office.
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