CPA Canada CEO to retire; search for successor begins

After 10 years of guiding the Canadian accounting profession, CPA Canada’s president and CEO Kevin Dancey plans to take on a new challenge: retirement.

Kevin Dancey will step down in May. Employees were informed of his plans last spring, and a search for a successor is now underway.

BACK TO THE FUTURE

Whenever Dancey speaks at convocations, he asks new graduates to imagine the world as it was when he joined the profession in 1973.

In that world, there were no faxes, websites and smartphones. Apple and Google didn’t exist. Accountants engaged clients solely through letters, phone calls and face-to-face meetings. Telex was critical to business.

Back to the Future Part II was set in 2015 and the present is not like Marty McFly saw it,” says Dancey, reflecting on his 40-year career as a professional accountant.

CPA Canada’s president and CEO predicts that continuous, rapid, technological change — much of which we can’t envision — will continue to affect the way CPAs need to operate. This change will be compounded by a continued focus on globalization, the development of new business models, Canada’s demographic challenges and a war for talent.

“The future is uncertain, but CPAs are well-positioned to embrace the challenges and succeed,” says Dancey.

DANCEY’S JOURNEY

Since graduating from McMaster University with a degree in math and economics, Dancey has had a career that has spanned the public, private and non-profit sectors. He has held senior positions at Coopers & Lybrand and the federal finance department. He was CEO of PwC in Canada.

Dancey rounded out his career with a decade of leadership in Canada’s national accounting profession. He started as president and CEO of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA) in 2006 and was appointed president and CEO of CPA Canada in January 2013.

Of the many events that occurred under Dancey’s stewardship, unification of the accounting profession is by far the most significant. “Unification has to be number one. It was such a transformation and took so long,” says Dancey.

Other events that occurred during Dancey’s time at the helm include:
  • Canada’s move to IFRS and private-sector accounting standards
  • adoption of international standards for audit and assurance
  • development of tax as a key area for CPA Canada
  • expansion of CPA Canada’s financial literacy initiative
  • the enhanced role of CPA Canada in international bodies such as IFAC

CPA CANADA TODAY

“CPA Canada is a great organization,” says Dancey. CPA Canada supports members and other key stakeholders, acts in the public interest and contributes to economic and social development.

“There are so many things on the go at any one time,” he adds. “We’re part of a great, well-respected and trusted profession that will only get better going forward.”

Notes Bob Strachan, outgoing chair of the CPA Canada Board: “Kevin has had a significant impact on the CICA, on the creation of CPA Canada and the unification of Canada’s accounting profession. He’s also had a significant influence internationally. He’s been a great ambassador for the Canadian accounting profession.”

Dancey’s plans for the future include travel and volunteering. But his first move, he says, will be “to take some time to ponder what’s next.”

SEARCH FOR A NEW CEO

Strachan, who is heading up the search committee, says that Dancey has built a strong foundation and leaves big shoes to fill.

“In three short years, we’ve created the structure of the new profession and we’re now moving to realize the expanded influence of accountants across the country,” he says. “Kevin’s legacy will be felt for years to come. The new CEO will continue to take CPA Canada forward on the path that has been set by the board.”

Everything that CPA Canada is doing — all the way from certification to communications to tax — will continue, says Strachan. With its more than 200,000 CPAs and strong, united voice, CPA Canada will have a bigger need for more outreach to the community, business, government and public practice. “It’s an evolution of where we’ve been as a profession,” he says.

Following the guidance in CPA Canada’s 20 Questions Directors Should Ask about CEO Succession and other sources, the search committee is building a leadership profile of success and expects to have a new CEO installed by April 2016.

Enjoy the issue and, as always, let us know what you think!

Mara Gulens
Editor, Member News

The next issue of Member News will be published on Dec. 7, 2015.

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