Keith Boocock was a leader who was also possessed a sense of humour, said a colleague.
A stroke has taken the life of Keith Boocock, 68, the chief executive officer of the Canadian Public Accountability Board (CPAB), and a man described as “a breath of fresh air” by colleague Ken Vallillee. Boocock died on June 18. Vallillee, who has been the board’s vice-president since 2006, has been named acting CEO.
“I always thought he had too many projects on the agenda, but lo and behold, they would all get done,” Vallillee recalled. “Primarily through his leadership, we were able to accomplish so much and make the job more interesting for everyone involved.”
Boocock became CEO in September 2006 after the death of David Scott, the board’s first CEO. Boocock was with the CPAB, which was established in 2003, almost from its beginnings, initially as a vice-president, brought in by Scott. Before that, he was a long-time partner at Deloitte & Touche LLP (and predecessor firms) in Toronto, at the end serving as the firm’s national director of risk management.
According to Vallillee, Boocock led the transition of the CPAB from the start-up phase “into the mature operation we are today.”
Boocock was dedicated to changing the profession to improve audit quality, Vallillee added. “Even with his other responsibilities, when we used to review proposed international auditing standards to submit a response to the (Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants) I was always amazed that Keith had taken the time to review the documents in detail.
“He would inevitably come up with excellent points to add to CPAB’s response. Keith had the highest of principles and I cannot think of a better representative of CPAB or the CA profession.”
Vallillee added that Boocock had a great sense of humour. “He thought that we should not take work-related things in life too seriously.”
Brian Hunt, CEO of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, also mourns the loss.
“As a board member of the Canadian Public Accountability Board, I’d come to know Keith Boocock as a man who had a positive impact as CPAB’s CEO, as a member of the Auditing and Assurance Standards Oversight Council and, prior to that, as a partner at Deloitte & Touche.”
While being CEO for less than two years, Hunt admits that Boocock left a lasting impression.
“Keith’s time at CPAB was relatively short but he left a lasting legacy, especially with regard to Canada’s international reputation. After the founding of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board in the U.S., Canada was quick to develop its own oversight body. As other countries came on board, many of them came to CPAB to learn about its capabilities and share the knowledge we had accrued. Keith was happy to share.
“Keith was much admired in our profession, in the business community and the community at large,” Hunt said. “His accomplishments were many and varied and he will be missed.”
Before joining the CPAB, Vallillee was a senior vice-president with a major Canadian bank and, before that, a partner and director of accounting standards with a major international accounting firm.
“As much as I will miss Keith,” he said, “I at least had the good fortune of being able to work with him and learn from him during the last four years. I consider myself blessed because of that.
“As I have done in the past and will do more in the future, when I am faced with a difficult decision, I will not hesitate to say ‘What would Keith do?’”