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10 Internal Audit Thought Leaders of the Decade

Blogs Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA​, CRMA Dec 23, 2019

These last few weeks of the year, we are seeing a variety of Top 10 lists looking back over the decade. Not to be left out, I have one to share: My list of the Top 10 internal audit thought leaders of the decade.
As I started compiling this list a few days ago, I was struck by how many men and women were vocal and instructive in advancing the practice of internal audit around the world in the 2010s. The danger in compiling a list such as this is not in who gets included, but in offending an outstanding thought leader who might be left off. So, let me offer my apologies in advance.

My list is intended to acknowledge active contributions to advancing the profession through lectures, articles, publications, and social media over all or most of the past decade. There are several individuals who have made a remarkable emergence in very recent years. These include giants in the profession, such as Jenitha John, Nancy Haig, Hal Garyn, Dominique Vincenti, Laura Soileau, and many others. The value they bring to the profession goes without saying, and I fully anticipate some or all of them on future Top 10 lists.

It is also important to note that I have excluded IIA staff around the world from consideration. Despite the fact that they are not on this list, I will have enduring gratitude for the passion, enthusiasm, and profound contributions they are making to the profession.

I must stress that I do not always agree with all of the men and women who made my Top 10 list. In fact, with some of them, I often find myself taking an alternate point of view. But, they put their views out there for debate, and that counts a lot. So, with all of the disclaimers out of the way, here is my list in alphabetical order.

Todd Davies: Todd is the only Australian on the list. I am always inspired by his insightful articles and social media posts. Twitter: @ToddDavies

Jim DeLoach: Jim is the quintessential internal audit thought leader, and no list would be complete without him. Protiviti is fortunate that he is part of its team! Twitter:@Deloachjim

Theresa "Terry" Grafenstein: Terry is one of the most accomplished thought leaders in cybersecurity in our field. I am always in awe of how relatable she makes some of the most complex issues seem to her audiences.

Mike Jacka: Mike is the dean of The IIA's bloggers. His posts often offer a light-hearted look at the challenges we face and the world around us. Twitter:@figre

Tim Leech: Every profession needs a Tim Leech, someone who is always challenging us to do better, and never shy about sharing a provocative point of view. I often vehemently disagree with Tim, but I must admit that I occasionally come around to seeing his point of view. Twitter@RiskOversight

Dr. Rainer Lenz: My favorite German thought leader, Rainer is often provocative, but always thoughtful in his point of view. Twitter:@Rainer_Lenz

Norman Marks: If I were ranking the list, Norman would be at or near the top. He is a tireless thought leader, whether speaking to internal audit conferences, authoring books, writing blogs, or simply sharing his views on social media. If you are not connected with Norman, I urge you to do so at once. Twitter:@normanmarks

Joseph McCafferty: Joe has emerged in the last half of this decade as a prolific internal audit thought leader. He could well be one of the giants in our profession in the 2020s. Twitter:@McCafOnAudit

Patty Miller: Another strong and consistent voice for the profession, Patty was a pioneer for women in internal audit leadership, first at Pacific Bell and Deloitte and then as a global chair of The IIA. She continues to shape internal audit leaders through her work with The IIA’s Vision University. Twitter: @p_k_miller

Paul Sobel: One of the true internal audit MVPs of the decade, Paul has chaired The IIA, the International Internal Audit Standards Board, and COSO. He is a prolific writer and speaker on all topics internal audit and risk management. He did all of that while serving as a CAE, and later CRO, of his company. Twitter:@paulsobel

Finally, I must emphasize that this is my personal list of influential thought leaders, not The IIA's. I am sure I have left off some deserving individuals, and I welcome your thoughts on who should have been included.

Richard F. Chambers, CIA, QIAL, CGAP, CCSA​, CRMA

Richard F. Chambers is president and CEO of The IIA. In Chambers on the Profession, he shares his personal reflections and insights based on his more than 40 years of experience in the internal audit profession.