Auditors face rule changes in Europe [FT]
Auditors operating in Europe face proposed rule changes this year aimed at ensuring their independence and making the market for their services more competitive, the European Union’s top financial services policymaker said on Thursday. Michel Barnier, EU internal market commissioner, told a conference in Brussels that in the wake of the financial crisis it was no longer possible to accept the status quo. “In this area of audit things will not stay stagnant,” he said. “We are going to take decisions….I shall make suggestions with the aim of presenting a proposed directive…in November,” he said.
Wells Fargo’s Former CFO Atkins to Receive $22 Million After Stepping Down [Bloomberg]
Atkins will be paid about $9.25 million in deferred compensation and pension benefits, according to a company proxy filing and an analysis conducted by Equilar Inc., a Redwood City, California-based executive-pay researcher. He may get another $13.2 million in restricted stock and options that will vest over the next few years, Oscar Suris, a Wells Fargo spokesman, said yesterday in a telephone interview.
Twitter as Tech Bubble Barometer [WSJ]
As Internet valuations climb and bankers and would-be buyers circle Silicon Valley in an increasingly frothy tech market, many eyes are on one particularly desirable, if still enigmatic, target: Twitter. Discussions with at least some potential suitors have produced an estimated valuation of $8 billion to $10 billion. Executives at both Facebook Inc. and Google Inc., among other companies, have held low-level talks with those at Twitter Inc. in recent months to explore the prospect of an acquisition of the messaging service, according to people familiar with the matter. The talks have so far gone nowhere, these people say.
Crystal Cathedral CFO resigns after criticism [AP]
The chief financial officer of Orange County’s Crystal Cathedral has retired after 33 years, saying he wants to help the church reduce expenses. The Orange County Register reports Tuesday that the church confirmed that 75-year-old Fred Southard stepped down following the Garden Grove megachurch’s bankruptcy filing last October. The trustee overseeing the bankruptcy case has scrutinized Southard, his six-figure housing allowance, and other employees and family members of founder Robert Schuller.
Congressman Chris Lee Resigns Following Gawker Revelation [Gawker]
It took a little over three hours from exposure to resignation. Has to be a record.
House Appropriations announces partial list of spending cuts [On the Money/The Hill]
Here are cut proposals that Congressman Lee won’t be voting on, “The cuts announced Wednesday are all from President Obama’s fiscal 2011 request that wasn’t enacted and include $268 million from the Treasury Department, $593 million from the IRS, $899 million from energy efficient and renewable energy, and $700 million from the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides nutritional support to low-income women and their young children.”
Ernst & Young appoints first non-executives [FT]
Three prominent figures from the worlds of business and regulation have become the first independent non-executives to be appointed by Ernst & Young, the accountant that is fighting to distance itself from the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The trio are Mark Olson, a former chairman of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, which regulates US auditors; Sir Richard Lambert, former director-general of the Confederation of British Industry, the UK employers’ body; and Klaus Mangold, a former DaimlerChrysler executive.
There Is a Credible Alternative [CEO Insights/Jeremy Newman]
NEWMAN! “I was delighted to issue a statement jointly with my counterparts from Grant Thornton, Mazars and RSM. This is the first time the four firms have issued a joint statement and shows how important this matter is to all of us in the profession and how important it is that there is a strong, and united, voice to balance the extensive lobbying of the four dominant audit firms and to provide support for the EC and their agenda for change.”