Leslie Seidman was named permanent chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) effective Dec. 23; she had been serving as acting chairman since the retirement of Robert H. Herz on Sept. 30.

A member of the Board since 2003, Seidman (left) comes into office as FASB works to meet a mid-2011 deadline to update key accounting standards preparatory to the convergence of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Standards (GAAP) with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Some of the new rules are controversial, having to do with financial instruments, leases and revenue recognition, and will have significant implications for public companies.

In a statement, Seidman said of her appointment, “I am honored to be leading the FASB at such a pivotal time in our history.” Of the standards work, she said, that FASB remains committed to developing standards that will provide "investors and other capital providers with decision-useful information. We are at a crucial point in our convergence program, and my fellow board members and I are working in close partnership with the IASB [International Accounting Standards Board] to improve the comparability of financial information around the world.”

Seidman has experience with the development of new standards; previously in her career, she was a vice president at J. P. Morgan with responsibility for establishing accounting policies for new financial products, particularly derivatives.