Paul Henry has been elected President of Chartered Accountants Ireland for 2020/2021 at its 132nd annual general meeting today.

The AGM was held virtually for the first time today. 

Mr Henry, who takes over as President from Conall O'Halloran, is a director with Belfast based property consultancy Osborne King. 

A resident of Belfast, he qualified with Pricewaterhouse in 1989.

Before his current role, he held positions with the Industrial Development Board, Enterprise Equity, PricewaterhouseCoopers and ASM Chartered Accountants. 

Paul Henry said his key priority as President of the country's biggest accounting body would be to harness the ability, experience and expertise of its membership network to support economic recovery in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"As we come through the immediate threat of the pandemic, we will face the significant challenge of rebuilding the economies of the island of Ireland," Mr Henry said. 

"I believe that our 28,500 members working in leadership, finance or advisory roles throughout Irish business, will play a key role in kick-starting the recovery and ensuring that business bounces back strongly," he added.

The new president said the outbreak of the coronavirus will be the "challenge of a generation" and that it will need a collaborative approach between business, political leaders and the public sector. 

"Chartered Accountants Ireland will be a strong supporter and advocate for the business community and the positive impact that a renewed economy can have for all throughout our society," he said.

Also at today's AGM, Pat O'Neill was elected deputy President of Chartered Accountants Ireland and Sinead Donovan was elected vice-president.

The gender balance of the Institute's Council now stands at 50:50. Progress is also being recorded at wider membership level, which is currently 42% female and 58% male.