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At-large trustee heads FAF.

Manuel H. Johnson has been elected chairman of the board of trustees and president of the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees the Financial Accounting Standards Board and the Governmental Accounting Standards Board. A relative newcomer to the FAF, Johnson joined it in 1996 as one of the at-large, or public, members following negotiations on the board's composition between the FAF and the Securities and Exchange Commission. Johnson's immediate predecessor, J. Michael Cook, chairman and chief executive officer of Deloitte & Touche, remains on the board. "Cook will be a tough act to follow," said Johnson in a public statement, "He was an outstanding leader of the FAF" Cook also praised his successor: Johnson is a great choice to lead the FAF"

Johnson, who has a PhD in economics, is cochairman of Johnson Smick International, a Washington, D.C., consulting firm that provides policy and economic analysis to US. and foreign financial institutions. He was assistant secretary of the treasury from 1982 to 1986 and vice-chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System from 1986 to 1990. "Standard setting belongs in an independent private organization," Johnson told the Journal. "To that end, I see part of the FAF's role is making sure the process is perceived as fair." The problem -- as exemplified by the furor over the proposed derivatives standard despite extensive exposure -- may be one of public relations: "The FASB has been unfairly attacked. It's not as if the derivatives project was a big surprise to anyone; it's been debated and discussed for a long time. We need to help financial statement preparers and users understand and support the process -- a lot of them simply may not have been paying attention."

Another issue with its share of controversies is international accounting, which Johnson said would be a key concern for the FAF over the next few years. "The world is changing quickly -- the standard-setting process is speeding up, and that makes some people uncomfortable." He said the FAF could help the FASB, SEC and other groups coordinate their efforts in addressing international GAAP.
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Title Annotation:Manual H. Johnson, Financial Accounting Foundation
Publication:Journal of Accountancy
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Nov 1, 1997
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