2007 Keynote Speaker Biographies
"Convergence in Global Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance: Charting a Course for the Future"
Thursday, April 26, 2007
Keynote Speaker Biographies
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Prior to joining the FASB, Mr. Herz was PricewaterhouseCoopers North America Theater Leader of Professional, Technical, Risk & Quality and a member of the firm's Global and US Boards. He was also a part-time member of the International Accounting Standards Board. Robert is both a Certified Public Accountant and a Chartered Accountant.
Robert joined Price Waterhouse in 1974 upon graduating from the University of Manchester in England. He later joined Coopers & Lybrand, becoming its senior technical partner in 1996 and assumed a similar position with the merged firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers in 1998.
During his distinguished career, Robert has authored numerous publications on a variety of accounting, auditing and business subjects. Included among those contributions is the book, The Value Reporting Revolution: Moving Beyond the Earnings Game, which he co-authored.
Among Robert's other activities, he chaired the AICPA SEC Regulations Committee and the Transnational Auditors Committee of the International Federation of Accountants, and served as a member of the Emerging Issues Task Force, the FASB Financial Instruments Task Force, the American Accounting Association's Financial Accounting Standards Committee and the SEC Practice Section Executive Committee of the AICPA.
In addition to his preparer activity he has been involved in standard setting for many years. He was chairman of the committee on corporate reporting of the FEI and also chaired the Chief Financial Officers Committee of the American Bankers association. He was a member of the Emerging Issues Task Force for many years and was a member and Vice Chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation which overseas the activities of the FASB. He also served on the Board of the International Accounting Standards Committee and was the last Chairman of this organization during its transition to the new full time IASB.
The principles of fairness and opportunity instilled in Sarbanes by his parents from a very early age led to his life of public service. In 1966, Sarbanes ran for the Maryland House of Delegates in Baltimore City and won. During his four years as a state legislator in Annapolis he served on the Judiciary and the Ways and Means Committees. He was then elected to the US House of Representatives, followed by his five terms in the US Senate.
In response to the failure of Enron Corporation in 2001, which, at the time, was the 7th largest corporation in the United States, he held a series of comprehensive hearings resulting in the passage of Sarbanes-Oxley. The act was designed to reform the accounting industry and restore the investor confidence that had been eroded following the collapse of Enron and subsequent corporate scandals.
"The Public Company Accounting Reform and Investor Protection Act" was signed into law on July 30, 2002, and has been referred to as "the most far-reaching reforms of American business practices since the time of Franklin Delano Roosevelt." The law is now known as the "Sarbanes-Oxley Act," named for Senator Sarbanes and his House co-sponsor Michael Oxley. It creates a strong independent oversight board to oversee the auditors of public companies and enables the board to set accounting standards, and investigate and discipline accountants. It addresses conflicts of interest, ensures auditor independence, strengthens corporate governance, by requiring corporate leaders to be personally responsible for the accuracy of their company's financial reports, and establishes safeguards to protect against investment analysts' conflicts.
As a result of his work in shepherding this historic legislation through the Congress and into law, Sarbanes was honored in June 2003 with the prestigious Paul H. Douglas Ethics in Government Award from the University of Illinois. The award was designed to honor individuals who have made a substantial contribution to promoting ethics.
Sarbanes work has created a lasting impact on the world of business. Through his actions and legislation, ethical behavior must now be standard practice for all companies, creating a positive business environment for employees and the public.