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Richard Gray Cottrell

Auditing and Accounting Stalwart passes on.

It is with deep sadness that I came to learn of the passing of Rick Cottrell on 5 November 2012. He was 76.

My memories of Rick are many and varied. I first met him during my Coopers & Lybrand days and it was during his term as Managing Partner of the South Africa firm that I was made a partner. A bold move on his part, in an Apartheid South Africa, as I was the first partner of colour appointed in the firm. I admire his courage and integrity in supporting my appointment.

Rick was inextricably linked to the history and culture of PwC and made his mark in the South African and international financial and accounting world. He played a valuable role in contributing a large part to what PwC stands for today. He practiced as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa, the United Kingdom and Iran. His success in establishing a thriving office, in the previously unchartered territory of Teheran, was the result on his visionary thinking and his inclusive approach. He always embraced the local culture and people, wherever he found himself, and this, ultimately, ensured sustainable, locally-driven businesses. He amplified this approach during his time in South Africa and his involvement within and outside of the profession has empowered a large number of people.

I have always held him in high regard from both a professional and personal perspective; his work ethic was exemplary and the level of respect he commanded among his peers is evidenced by the number of important positions to which he was elected and appointed.

He was a past President of the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants, Chairman of the Accounting Practices Committee and one of the two South African representatives on the then International Accounting Standards Committee.
After retiring from practice, he was appointed the Executive Officer of the Financial Services Board in April 1996 – a position he occupied for over four years.

He then moved on to being a consultant and director of a number of companies, including, Nedbank Group Limited, Iscor Limited, Regent Insurance Company Limited, Afrox Healthcare Limited and STRATE. He was also Chairman of the Accounting Standards Board which sets public sector accounting standards for South Africa. Until recently, he continued to play a role in consumer education.

There is no doubt that both the profession and business at large have lost a talented and dedicated servant. Rick worked tirelessly to promote and advance the visions of Coopers & Lybrand, the accounting profession and the various boards on which he served. Many will remember Rick for his sharp wit and sense of humour. He was a man who commanded a strong presence, was well versed in business issues and passionate about reading.

Thank you, Rick, for all that you have contributed and achieved – South African business is certainly the better for it. You will be sorely missed.

Rick is survived by his loving wife Moya and his two sons, Edward and Peter.

Suresh Kana
PwC Africa Senior Partner