The International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) has elected Olivia Kirtley as president, the first woman appointed to the position.

Hailing from the US, Kirtley is also the first president elected from business and industry, rather than public accounting, and will hold the position of president for a two-year term ending in November 2016.

Kirltey was first elected to the IFAC board in 2007, rising to the post of deputy president in 2012. Her role will be taken over by Rachel Grimes from Australia.

A certified public accountant and chartered global management accountant, Kirtley is also non-executive director of US Bancorp, ResCare Inc and Papa John’s International.

With a long-standing background in accounting and management, she is a former chair of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the AICPA board of examiners.

AICPA described Kirtley as a "recognised advocate for strong corporate governance" and outgoing president Warren Allen cited her as a "great source of support" during his term.

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By GlobalData

Kirtley herself described her appointment as coming at "an exciting time for IFAC" and said: "As president, I look forward to engaging with member bodies and our many stakeholders as we seek ways to advance the impact and value of our profession, and in serving the public interest."