John Hegarty, first secretary general of the Fédération des Experts Comptables Européens (FEE), has died at the age of 55.

Hegarty qualified as an associate of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Ireland in 1981 and a year later became a fellow of the Irish accounting body. In1987 he was appointed secretary general of the FEE, a role he held until 1999.

Hegarty held different positions at the World Bank (WB) in a career that spanned 14 years, including a three-year stint as the head of the Centre for Financial Reporting Reform in Vienna.

Prior to this appointment Hegarty spent nine years in Washington where he started his valuable contribution to the WB’s work on corporate governance, market regulation and the liberalization of international trade in professional services.

He was also the WB’s observer at the International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators (IFIAR).

In addition, Hegarty served on the Consultative Advisory Groups to the International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB), the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) and was a member of the Supervisory Board of the Prince of Wales Accounting for sustainability Project.

The FEE said he was both a talented, well-respected professional and a kind, considerate human being.

Hegarty’s friends described him as a committed accounting professional and an Irishman fluent in three languages who saw himself as a European citizen.