New Chair and Vice Chair to take up posts at Johnston Carmichael

Mark Houston

Mark Houston

Senior Partner and Chair

24 May 2022

    Independent business advisory and accountancy firm Johnston Carmichael is appointing a new Chair and Vice Chair as the business looks to the future and drives forward its growth ambitions.

    From 1 June, Mark Houston, partner and Head of Johnston Carmichael’s Glasgow office, is stepping up from his current role as Vice Chair to Chair. Mark, who joined the firm as a director in 2006, became partner in 2008, and was selected to lead the Glasgow office in 2011 before being appointed to the board in 2013.

    Lynne Walker, partner and Head of Business Advisory, has been appointed Vice-Chair. Lynne, who is based out of the firm’s Elgin and Inverness offices, started as a newly qualified chartered accountant in the firm’s Audit team 17 years ago. After becoming audit director in 2014 she was promoted to oversee business advisory services, becoming Head of Business Advisory in 2017 and partner in 2019. She was among three partners to join the board last year.

    The pair take up their roles as Sandy Manson, the existing Chair and a former CEO of the business, retires at the end of the month after 31 years at the firm. Sandy, a highly regarded member of the wider Scottish business community, was CEO for 12 years, seeing the firm grow from 350 people and revenues of £18 million, to a Top 20 UK accountancy firm and revenues of £49 million. Sandy was appointed Chair and Head of Client Service in 2019.

    Mark and Lynne’s promotions are part of the firm’s ongoing commitment to growing its own future leaders, and they will play a key role in helping it to retain and recruit the profession’s top talent.

    Johnston Carmichael continues to invest significantly in its people, adopting fully hybrid working, establishing a People and Culture Forum, and introducing an in-house professional learning platform, the JC Academy, to support career progression. Other learning opportunities include its in-house leadership development programme, and access to a prestigious Harvard Executive Leadership programme as part of its membership of the international network Moore Global.

    The business is also seeking to bring in greater numbers of young people, as part of its people strategy. In addition to offering JC Futures, which recruits candidates straight from school and allows them to achieve qualifications while in employment, it is additionally growing its graduate intake. Last year the firm appointed 100 graduates across its 13 offices, and it is anticipating it will break this record following its recruitment rounds this year.

    Mark Houston said: “Sandy’s retirement is the end of an era at Johnston Carmichael, and we wish him the very best for the next chapter of his life. He has been an extraordinary leader and inspiration to all in our business.

    Our focus for the future is on investing in the learning and development of our people and our leadership culture, ensuring we continue to deliver the high performance and high-quality services that distinguish us in the marketplace.

    Mark Houston

    “Key to this is creating a great place to work, where our people feel positive and fulfilled. We recently had 30 people from our Glasgow office taking part in the Kiltwalk and despite the sore feet afterwards, we had a glow that wasn’t just from the sun.

    “In a fast-changing world where digitisation is increasing at pace and people are looking for a more rounded experience in the workplace, enabling our people to be leaders of their work and their learning, will support retention and recruitment and allow us to deliver the increasingly complex work we are undertaking to help our clients to thrive.”

    Lynne added: “The business has been fantastically supportive of my career since I joined 17 years ago, and I am committed to supporting the next generation of leaders of the firm. I am hugely looking forward to assuming the post of Vice-Chair at Johnston Carmichael and working with Mark and the Board to continue growing the positive, empowering culture we enjoy in our firm.

    “In particular, I want to encourage more opportunities for our people to engage directly with the Board, so we ensure a two-way flow of communications in order to provide the best possible environment for success.”

    Sandy said: “I feel very fortunate and incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to play my part in growing Johnston Carmichael into the leading firm it is today. The firm continues to thrive due to the commitment and passion of our people to deliver for our clients. We have always believed in building and passing the firm on to the next generation so they in turn can take the firm to new levels. Mark and Lynne have outstanding leadership capabilities and their appointments will help ensure Johnston Carmichael goes from strength to strength as an independent firm.” 

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