The chief of a leading independent accountancy and business advisory firm is to step down amid a "leadership reshape".

The accountancy that describes itself as "Scotland’s largest" has now appointed a new chief executive.

Lynne Walker, formerly the firms vice chair and head of business advisory, takes on the chief executive role and Mark Houston, chair, becomes senior partner.

The firm said Ms Walker and Mr Houston "will now together lead the business as it continues to grow its offering across the UK".

Ms Walker, who is based in Elgin where the firm was founded almost 90 years ago, succeeds Andrew Walker, who has "made the decision to step down" after five years as chief executive.

Under Mr Walker’s tenure, the firm opened a Newcastle office, grew its London team and increased its headcount from 800 people to more than 900 across the UK.

Turnover has also grown from £51.4m for 2020 to £67.9m in 2023.

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Mr Walker, who spent 17 of his 20 years at Johnston Carmichael on its board, has "handed over the reins as the firm prepares to launch a refreshed strategy".

Ms Walker joined the firm as a newly-qualified chartered accountant 19 years ago, and became audit director in 2014. She was promoted to oversee business advisory services, becoming head of business advisory in 2017 and a partner in 2019. She joined the firm’s board in 2021 and became vice chair in 2022.

Ms Walker said: "Its a great honour, alongside Mark, to be leading Johnston Carmichael at such an exciting time for the business.

"As a firm, we continue to navigate complex societal change that not only presents opportunities for our business but our clients too.

“I began my career in our firm as a newly-qualified chartered accountant nearly two decades ago and I’m so proud we’re bringing more students and trainees into the business than ever before, many of whom are following in my footsteps into leadership positions."

Johnston Carmichael also announced that Graham Marjoribanks, partner and head of audit, becomes vice chair at the firm, and Shaun Millican, partner and head of technology and life sciences, becomes head of business advisory.

Mr Houston said: "Lynne and I have worked together for years and with the support of the board and our excellent executive team we believe that a joined up and collaborative approach to leadership is what will help us deliver our refreshed strategy and continue our growth across the UK.

“Our business has grown considerably in recent years despite the tough economic backdrop and the challenges brought by a global pandemic. We have nearly 1,000 people in our offices across the UK, and Lynne and I look forward to leading the firm, as we look to grow our service offering further.

"Andrew has played a significant part in our success story, and I would like to thank him for his contribution on behalf of the firm."

The firm says that "the origins of Scotland’s largest independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers lie in a partnership formed by Bill Johnston and John Carmichael in 1936", adding: "From our beginnings in rural Moray, we’ve grown into one of the country’s leading professional services businesses with a network of offices across Scotland and beyond, with our team led by senior partner and chair, Mark Houston, and our chief executive Lynne Walker."