The Accounting Hall of Fame
Shaun Fenton O'Malley
This respected accounting leader and statesman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1935, the fifth of eight children. His father was an attorney and civil servant. He attended Waldron-Mercy Academy for the first eight grades and completed his secondary education at Canterbury School, where he was a member of football, basketball, and baseball teams and also active in dramatics. In the fall of 1952, he entered the University of Pennsylvania as an English major but left after one semester, owing to a deteriorating family financial situation. He entered the U. S. Army serving until 1955 with the Seventh Army Occupation Force in Germany. His father died while he was in service.
Upon discharge from the Army, he returned to the University of Pennsylvania and, in the spring of 1956, transferred to the Wharton School. He financed his education through the GI Bill, summer jobs, and work at the University Library. He was also active in intramural athletics and a dramatics group and was president of his college fraternity.
In 1959, he graduated with a B.S. in Economics and a major in accounting and joined Price Waterhouse as a staff accountant. He remained in Philadelphia until 1966 when he was assigned to Tokyo and Osaka, Japan, an experience which further fueled his long-held interest in international business. He returned to the U. S. and in 1968 was assigned to the firm's National Office Research Department supporting the firm's member on the Accounting Principles Board. In 1970, he was promoted to partner and returned to Philadelphia, where for the next eight years he served a wide variety of publicly-owned clients and earned the respect of clients and colleagues alike for his astute accounting and business advice to multinational companies entering new businesses and international markets. In 1978, he again transferred to the National Office for one year to support the newly elected firm's chairman in developing the firm's position on inflation accounting and a number of other pressing financial reporting issues. In 1980, he was named partner-in-charge of the Philadelphia office. In 1984 he was elected to the U.S. firm's governing board, and in 1987 he was elected Chairman and Senior Partner of the U. S. firm. He was elected Co-Chief Executive Officer of the worldwide organization in 1990 and appointed Chairman of the worldwide organization in 1992, a position he held until 1995, when he retired from Price Waterhouse.
His many contributions to the accounting profession include service as a member and chair of the Board of Trustees of the Financial Accounting Foundation, during a period in which the Foundation maintained strong support for the FASB despite continuing criticism and attacks on the standard-setting body. He was also a member of the Securities and Exchange Commission¹s Emerging Markets Advisory Committee and many committees of the Pennsylvania Institute of CPAs.
In 1998, after retirement, he was appointed Chairman of the Public Oversight Board's Panel on Audit Effectiveness to carry out a project requested by Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman, Arthur Levitt. Over the next one and one-half years, he led a comprehensive investigation of the auditing profession that included on-site visits of accounting firm offices, reviews of a number of actual audit engagements, and interviews of participants at all levels. The project also included extensive consultation with practitioners, regulators, corporate officers, and internal auditors and a series of public hearings scheduled both before and after issuance of its comprehensive "Report and Recommendations" designed to improve audit effectiveness and unify and strengthen the system of governance of the accounting profession.
A frequent and impassioned speaker, his writings on financial reporting, ethics, liability reform, and other issues have been published in a variety of business and professional journals. From the earliest years with his firm, he has been actively and directly involved in groups working for progress on these issues. He served on the Ethics Committee of the Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants and as a member and chair of the board of the Ethics Resource Center in Washington, D.C. and has spoken on the subject of business ethics before a number of groups. In addition, he has been an active member of the National Center on the Educational Quality of the Workforce and chaired the Mayor¹s Committee to Select Members of the Philadelphia School Board.
He played key roles in community development activities through his work with the Greater Philadelphia First Corporation, as a member of its Economic Development Committee and chair of its Regional Planning Committee; his membership on the boards of directors of the Greater Philadelphia International Network and the World Affairs Council of Philadelphia; and his chairmanship of Philadelphia's Committee of Seventy. In New York City, he served on the executive committee of Mayor Koch's Private Sector Survey and played a leading role in Mayor Dinkins' New York City Alliance for International Business. He has been a member and chair of the board of trustees of the Curtis Institute of Music, a member of the Board of Overseers of The Wharton School, a member of the Board of Directors of the SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management at The Wharton School, and a member of the boards of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, the University of Pennsylvania Health System, Chestnut Hill College, the Canterbury School, Springside School, and the Board of Co-operation Ireland. In addition, he has served on several corporate boards of directors including the Horace Mann Educators Corporation, Vlasic Foods International, Coty, Inc., The Philadelphia Contributionship, The Finance Company of Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Belt Line Railroad.
In 1965, he married Sibyl Julia (Julie) Bernard upon her graduation from Bryn Mawr College; while accompanying her husband on three tours of duty in New York and one in Tokyo/Osaka, she was able to continue her education and career earning an MA from LaSalle University and a Ph.D. from Bryn Mawr in Psychology and practicing as a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia. They have three children--Brendan, Sibyl, and Aineand three grandchildren. He and his wife live in Philadelphia, and he enjoys tennis, golf, music, reading and history. He is the 65th member of the Accounting Hall of Fame, Shaun Fenton O'Malley.