Watson will join the IRB on 1 November, replacing Michael Caplan QC who has held the role since the IRB was created in 2015.
Watson previously served as chair of the UK Electoral Commission, the Independent Complaints Panel at the Portman Group, and the Equal Opportunities Commission. Additionally, she also held non-executive roles at the Financial Reporting Council and Financial Ombudsman Service.
Following an independent review of its regulatory governance in 2014, the IRB was created to enhance the distinction between ICAEW’s representative and regulatory roles, and it is composed of a parity of lay and chartered accountant members including the chair.
Jenny Watson CBE, incoming chair of the IRB, said: “I’m pleased to be taking up the role of Chair of the IRB. We already know that there is much change to come for those working in the fields of accountancy, audit and insolvency services in the future.
“I look forward to ensuring that the Board plays a key part in responding to this change and that, whatever the future brings, its work always keeps the public interest firmly at its heart.”
Duncan Wiggetts, chief officer for the Professional Standards Department at ICAEW, said: “Jenny joins us at a key point as the UK Government’s proposed reforms to audit, reporting and corporate governance and the forthcoming consultation regarding the insolvency regulatory framework have the potential to reshape the future role of regulation and the work of ICAEW and the IRB.
“I look forward to working with Jenny in her new role and would also like to thank Michael Caplan for his service over the last six years as the IRB’s first ever chair.”