AccountingWEB publisher Sift appoints new chair and strengthens board for next phase

Oct 5, 2022 | News

Digital media and events publisher Sift has appointed Stephen Farish as non-executive chair to oversee the next stage of the company’s growth, and is looking to strengthen the board with two further NED appointments over the next few months.

Sift founder and major shareholder Ben Heald steps down as chair from 5th October but will remain on the board as a non-executive director.

“My role at Sift has consistently evolved since founding the company and launching AccountingWEB 25 years ago. It’s been a fascinating journey as editor of AccountingWEB, then CEO and latterly chair,” said Heald. “As we further strengthen and expand the board, it feels fitting to signify that there are no barriers to our growth ambitions by asking Stephen to step up as chair. I’m not going anywhere and will also still attend our events as a full part of the Sift team.”

Farish, who has served on the Sift board as NED since 2016, is a former MD at Haymarket Media Group and has held senior roles at Centaur Media plc and global insight agency Kantar.

“I am delighted and honoured to be taking up the baton from Ben as Sift enters the next exciting phase of its development”, said Farish. “It’s a great business with a brilliant team, valued brands and can-do culture – all of which is testament to Ben’s leadership and vision over the last 25 years.

“In the last few years Sift has made huge progress under the leadership of CEO Tom Dunkerley and his team, and I am looking forward to working closely with them and the board to help Sift achieve its next set of goals and growth plans.”

The board changes coincide with the launch of a new Events division– to include the flagship AccountingWEB Live Expo (now in its second year), three sets of industry awards including Accounting Excellence (the UK’s premier awards programme for the accountancy sector), and a pioneering series of digital events.

It also follows the recent launch of AccountingWEB Insight – the largest and most in-depth study of accounting tech users in the UK. And Sift’s digital marketing division PracticeWeb has also re-invigorated its offer as the UK’s leading provider of subscription-based digital marketing services to accountancy practices.

Sift CEO Tom Dunkerley commented:

“Having worked with Stephen for the last 6 years, I know the value that he’ll bring to the role as chair. We’re entering an exciting period for the business, as we expand our subscription services, scale our event portfolio and serve our clients and audiences with trusted content and marketing solutions. Stephen will help bring even greater focus and accountability to the senior team and our expanded board, which I’m delighted Ben will still be a part of.”