Joseph Owolabi elected ACCA president, first-ever from Africa to lead world’s leading professional accountancy body
Pakistan’s Ayla Majid also makes history for being appointed vice president, first South Asian to hold this position in a 118-year history of ACCA
Joseph was confirmed in his new role at the annual council meeting after ACCA’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) on 10 November 2022. Ronnie Patton, formerly senior lecturer at Ulster University, Northern Ireland, was appointed deputy president and Ayla Majid from Pakistan, founder and CEO of Planetive – a clean energy and sustainability advisory practice – became vice president.
Ayla joined ACCA in 2006 and has been serving on ACCA’s global council since 2014. She is the first person from Pakistan and South Asia to be elected the global vice president in a 118-year history of ACCA.
Ayla is an international speaker and is a strong advocate of sustainability and energy transition; takes part in contributing to important themes: Digital Transformation, Climate Finance, Future of Work, Future of Energy and Sustainable Infrastructure. She sits on the Boards of various public and private entities in Pakistan in the areas of energy, pharmaceutical and not for profit sectors. In her various roles she focuses and advises on the adoption of the SDGs across different industries. Ayla is Eisenhower Fellow, and is a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum. She sits on the Global Future Council of Energy Transition of the World Economic Forum.
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‘Being a finance professional has equipped me with the tools and connected me with people who are working towards creating action-oriented solutions for a sustainable world,’ she said.
For Ayla promoting the role of women in governance is something she is very passionate about. She said: ‘It is the need of today’s forward-looking organisation.’ Ayla is a champion of board diversity and actively engages in promoting women on boards. She was the first female to sit on the board of any stock exchange in Pakistan. Thanks to pioneers like her, the influence and impact of women is changing the face of Pakistan.
Ayla is also proud that ACCA plays a major role in offering young Pakistanis a promising career path full of growth and opportunities while creating a positive global impact. ‘ACCA is a wonderful qualification, with high quality standards, up to speed with addressing global needs and provides flexibility, and therefore fits really well with the requirements of a diverse audience. It’s particularly a very attractive career choice for women in all parts of the world including developing countries,’ she said.
The newly elected ACCA president, Joseph Owolabi, grew up and studied in Nigeria, has lived and worked in Africa, North America and the UK, and now is an adoptive Australian. He will bring his knowledge of being a global citizen to his time as ACCA president and will draw on his experience of finding a home and a family with ACCA wherever he has lived and worked.
He became an ACCA member in 2011 and has served on ACCA’s International Assembly 2014-2015 and has been a Global Council member since 2015.
Joseph said: ‘If you had told me as a child growing up that I would one day be the first African leading the largest, truly global accounting body, I would not have believed you. ACCA is an inclusive open and global community for members, future members and partners. Wherever in the world I have found myself, ACCA has given me a home and a family.
‘I am passionate about connecting our community and inspiring the accountants of tomorrow. Great things happen when we collaborate across jurisdictions and national divides.
‘The challenges of today and the complexities of tomorrow will demand continuous learning, courage, sound judgment and a resolve to stay ahead of the curve. The accountancy profession has a key role to play in creating a better world.’
Joseph brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is founder of Rubicola which works in Australia, Africa and North America advising clients on risk, non-financial reporting and sustainable business strategies. His previous experience includes roles at Deloitte, EY and PwC.