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Thursday, 4 April, 2002, 14:54 GMT 15:54 UK
Andersen chooses new chief
After a marathon three-day board meeting, the partners of Andersen Worldwide have chosen Aldo Cardoso as the accountancy firm's new acting chief executive.

Mr Cardoso, who is already chairman of the 18-member board, takes over from Joseph Berardino, who stepped down last month to take responsibility for the firm's mistakes.

New Andersen Worldwide CEO Aldo Cardoso
Cardoso: inheritor of a poisoned chalice?
Mr Berardino had been in the post since January 2001.

"This new role is a natural extension of my responsibilities as chairman of the (board)," Mr Cardoso said in a statement.

"I will continue to work with our partners around the world to help them achieve as quickly as possible the best outcome for their people and their clients."

The embattled firm is struggling in the aftermath of the scandal over Enron, one of its clients.

Andersen's failure to alert shareholders to the energy company's off-the-books financial misadventures has caused clients to flee and earned it a criminal indictment in the US which could yet wipe out the US operation altogether.

Hard work

That means the new boss has a big task on his hands, trying to keep Andersen operations across the rest of the world afloat.

Aldo Cardoso
Aged 46
Joined Andersen in 1979; made partner in 1989
Country managing partner, France
Regional managing partner, France & Benelux
Education: Ecole Superieure de Commerce, Paris; Masters in Law from the Sorbonne
The company had hoped that most of its individual member firms would choose to side with KPMG.

But partners at many of them have already opted for another of the big four firms, and Andersen has admitted that the worldwide merger is out of the question.

"In view of the decisions by certain individual firms to pursue different directions, it is clear that a deal embracing all of the non-US firms is not achievable," Andersen Worldwide said in a statement.

Out of the 83 firms outside the US, six have already gone elsewhere.

Andersen Spain is merging with Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, while the Russian, Australian and New Zealand affiliates are negotiating with Ernst & Young.

The Hong Kong and China offices expect to reach a deal with PricewaterhouseCoopers within the next three months.

On the brink

If that were not enough, Mr Cardoso also faces the formidable challenge of trying to help Andersen's US arm avoid extinction.

The firm faces obstruction of justice charges in the US over the shredding of Enron-related documents by its Houston office after an investigation into the latter's collapse had begun.

The case goes to court in Houston on 6 May.

See also:

03 Apr 02 | Business
Andersen talks on new chief drag on
01 Apr 02 | Business
More firms flee Andersen
30 Mar 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
Andersen's angry accountants
29 Mar 02 | Business
Andersen backs rescue plan
27 Mar 02 | Business
Andersen chief steps down
05 Feb 02 | Business
Audit giants called to account
29 Jan 02 | Business
Andersen on the defensive
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