In the last 25 years or so journals in accounting have undergone a huge shift in how they are edited. In 1993, the Editor was just that, THE Editor. He or she may have had a couple of Associate Editors but on the whole it was THE Editor’s show.
While there was some early movements at TAR, JAR, JAE and AOS, it was Mike Gibbins who in 1993 decided to appoint Associate Editors at CAR with FULL decision rights. It was quite revolutionary. The Associate Editor chose reviewers, made accept/reject/revise decisions, and made the defacto final acceptance/rejection decisions. At first no one really believed THE Editor was becoming the Editor. Today such decentralized decision making is more the norm!
This occurred for both academic and practical reasons. The academic reasons were the increasingly specialized nature of the accounting field where even the most dedicated Editor could not grasp, even at a very high level, the substantive differences in paper quality across accounting areas. The practical reason is volume of scholarly production. Major journals are moving well into the 500 papers and beyond being submitted annually. Top niche journals are now experiencing volumes of papers that a decade ago would be experienced at the top journals.
So the role of THE Editor has changed. Now the Editor (Senior, in-chief) manages a team, sets a tone, promotes the journal and, in some cases, reads carefully final page proofs! What a difference 25 years make!