A WIDER representation of Ernst & Young staff has been a key strategy of Steve Varley's appointments to his UK & Ireland leadership team.

E&Y's new managing partner Varley has appointed Hywel Ball to lead assurance. Ball has more than 25 years' experience in the audit practice, leading E&Y to its first FTSE 100 win last year in over a decade.

Restructuring head Liz Bingham takes over the people-leader role from Alison Duncan. Bingham will continue to work on client engagements.

Nigel Halkes is the new markets leader, replacing Varley. Halkes has a 34-year career with the firm.

Previous government-services leader Martin Cook takes the commercial managing partner's role.

"Driving growth in our local and global markets and having an inspirational leadership team with a strong commercial and client focus are absolutely core to our ambitions for the UK & Ireland business," said Varley.

Varley takes over from Scott Halliday as the leader of more than 11,000 people and partners.

The firm has also announced that 69 new partners joined the business across 2010-11, including 50 this week. The total number of partners in the UK and Ireland is 618.

Globally, the firm admitted 548 new partners in July, including 209 in EMEIA.