Graeme was ‘installed’ in a socially-distanced ceremony at the historic Watermen’s Hall in the City on 7 October.
“It is an honour and privilege, and indeed humbling,” Graeme said. “In these extraordinary times, when many activities and events are being cancelled, postponed or scaled back, I relish the challenge of looking at new ways to both make a difference and to maintain the high standards shown by illustrious predecessors. I look forward to enjoying this privilege and hope to maintain the best traditions of my Company and my forebearers.”
The Chartered Accountants Company is one of 110 Liveries in the City of London, some of which date back to the Middle Ages and all of which are steeped in tradition, ceremony, governance and fundraising.
The Company raises large sums every year for charitable causes, funds bursaries for doctoral students and helps foster high standards in the profession. Additionally, this year it donated over £100,000 in exceptional grants to other charities and funds threatened by the effects of Covid-19.
The Livery also plays a leading role in the governance of the local authority responsible for the City of London, helping elect the Lord Mayor, Sheriffs and other City of London officers.
Livery membership is exclusive to the 150,000 members of ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales). Only a limited number – just under 400 accounting professionals – have been accepted into the Company. Selection is based on ‘personal merit, a willingness to contribute in a collegiate environment and to donate to a range of good causes, and a pleasant personality’.
In his new role, Graeme will effectively be the non-executive Chair of the Livery Company until October 2021. He will chair all meetings of the Court (the ultimate Governing body of the Company), sign documentation granting Freemanship or Livery status to members, and preside over all ceremonial events.
A former officer in the Royal Navy, Graeme became a chartered accountant in 1990 and was twice a President of Thames Valley Chartered Accountants. In 2010, he was appointed CEO and Executive Director of Praxity, the world’s largest alliance of independent accounting and consulting firms, serving more than 51,000 professionals in 110 countries. Over the last 10 years, he has steered Praxity to no.1 position in the IAB world rankings, 13 years of consecutive growth and record global revenues of US$6.38 billion in 2019.
Prior to joining Praxity, Graeme was Managing Director and a Senior Tutor at Emile Woolf Group, the international training and development firm. He was also previously Group Finance Director of a technology company listed on the London Stock Exchange. He has extensive international experience including in Europe, Russia, North America, the Far East, the Indian Sub-Continent and the Middle East.
Graeme entered the Chartered Accountants Company as Freeman of the Company. He then became a Freeman of the City of London and later a Liveryman of the Company, before being appointed to the Court. He was elected Junior Warden in 2018, Senior Warden a year later, and subsequently Master.