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Parkin pushes on

FORMER Andersen audit partner Derek Parkin has racked up a couple of firsts since his old firm collapsed.

Of Andersen’s 10 former Perth partners, he is the only one to have added the title of professor to his resume.

And of the six who formally joined Ernst & Young, he is the only one to have subsequently left.

Mr Parkin stayed at Ernst & Young for just six months, following a 17-year career with Andersen, and the brevity of his stay has fuelled plenty of speculation.

However Mr Parkin plays down any notion of intrigue.

“I always had the view that when I reached the magic age of 50, I would take stock,” he said.

Mr Parkin has fond memories of his stint at Ernst & Young, which ended in November 2002.

“It was actually a very nice environment, a people oriented environment.”

Ernst & Young’s decision to waive the three-year lock-in clause that all Andersen partners had been required to sign made his departure easier.

“I was very fortunate. It wasn’t seen as a precedent.”

Mr Parkin seems to be revelling in his new life as an academic and professional director.

“I haven’t retired and don’t intend to retire. I’m going through a metamorphosis.”

His main pursuit is lecturing at Notre Dame University, in the fields of accounting and audit.

He is also active in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Australia, being a member of both its national board and its regional council.

He is also seeking board positions in the private sector, and feels he is looking at an ideal time.

He can expect to benefit from the increased demand for genuinely independent directors with financial expertise.

New corporate governance guidelines issued recently by the Australian Stock Exchange are expected to fuel this trend.

At the same time, Mr Parkin has imposed a strict limit on the number of board seats he will accept.

“Listed-company board positions should take up one day a week,” he said.

“I only have space for two positions realistically and a maximum of three.

“I will sit back and wait for the right opportunities to come along.”

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