As ICAEW launches the latest findings of its Business Confidence Monitor report, one of the UK’s most comprehensive indicators of the state of the nation’s businesses, we bring together experts from across the UK and its devolved nations to discuss the current economic environment, and what it means for the future of UK business.
Our regional break-out panel discussions, representing all UK economic regions and the devolved nations, will focus on the Business Confidence report’s regional findings and consider how the regional landscape compares against the national picture.
Expert panels comprising leaders from the region’s business community will explore the local economic conditions, share insight into how their businesses have adapted, and even thrived, in response to the key universal challenges – such as the impact of interest rates; the cost of living crisis and its effect on suppliers, customers and employees; shortage of business investment; managing labour shortages in key economic sectors; international trade and infrastructure issues. We’ll also look ahead with a keen eye on the future and the opportunities for regional and local economies; how are local businesses adapting and responding to the availability of technology to drive productivity? And how will businesses operating in local and regional markets shape the macro economy of the future?
This event is a must-attend for business leaders, entrepreneurs, economists, and professionals, seeking to stay ahead in today's rapidly changing economic landscape. Huw Pill's insights and analysis will undoubtedly shed light on the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead, empowering attendees with the knowledge and foresight to make informed decisions and adapt to the evolving economic conditions.
Learn strategies for managing economic uncertainty and how to harness opportunities to build business resilience.
At the time of booking, please indicate which room you would like to join:
For further information on the rooms or if you require assistance, please contact our event organisers Ella Hemmings - Ella.Hemmings@icaew.com or Natalie Buckman - Natalie.Buckman@icaew.com
This event is open to all delegates, both ICAEW members and non-members.
Should you experience any difficulties booking onto the event, please go to our events support page - how to book. If you need assistance making a booking, please contact the Events Information team who will be happy to support with the online booking process.
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Our event organiser will also be able to assist with any last minute questions if you are unable to reach our Events Information team.
Event Organisers -
Speaker: Huw Pill, Chief Economist and Executive Director for Monetary Analysis and Research, Bank of England
View Huw's LinkedIn profile
Huw Pill is the Bank of England’s Chief Economist and Executive Director for Monetary Analysis and Research. He is a member of the Monetary Policy Committee and is responsible for the analysis the Bank uses to make its monetary policy decisions. He also leads the research that supports all the Bank's other functions.
Previously, Huw was Chief European Economist at Goldman Sachs (2011- 2018). Before that, he worked at the European Central Bank in Frankfurt. He served as its Deputy Director of Research (2009 - 2011) and Head of its Monetary Policy Stance Division (2004 - 2009), also working in its Strategic Policy Issues Unit (1998 - 2001). Huw was also a member of the faculty at Harvard Business School (1995 - 1998, 2001 - 2004, 2019 - 2021). At the start of his career, he worked as an economist in the Bank of England’s then Economics Division (1990 - 1992).
He has a BA (Hons) from the University of Oxford and an MA and PhD from Stanford University.
Chair: Iain Wright, Managing Director, Reputation & Influence, ICAEW
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Iain Wright trained as a Chartered Accountant and worked at Deloitte and Touche from 1996-2003 and at One NorthEast, the regional development agency of the North East of England 2003-04. He was elected as the Member of Parliament for Hartlepool in 2004 and served in this capacity until 2017, when he decided not to seek re-election. Iain served as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Housing and Planning in the Department for Communities and Local Government from 2007 to 2009 and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for 14-19 Reform and Apprenticeships between 2009 and 2010 in the Gordon Brown Government.
Between 2011 and 2015 he was the opposition spokesman for Industry. Then from 2015 – 2017, he was the Chairman of Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee, where he led high profile inquiries into the sale of BHS and working practices at Sports Direct. He stood down at the 2017 General Election and became chief executive for a chemicals industry trade association in North East England.
He joined ICAEW as Director for Business & Industrial Strategy in April 2018. Iain is a Governor of Middlesbrough College. He also chairs the policy forum of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He has an MA in History from University College London and obtained an MBA with Distinction from Durham University in 2019.
Panel: Suren Thiru, Director, Economies, ICAEW
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Suren Thiru is an Economics graduate of Aberystwyth University, and holds a MSc in Financial Economics from SOAS, the University of London. He is a regular commentator on the UK economy on TV, radio and national press, and started his career as a market economist at Leaseplan UK, the largest vehicle management and leasing provider.
As Head of Economics at the BCC for nearly 10 years, Suren led the organisation’s UK and global economic initiatives, including the delivery of key economic research for events and stakeholders, such as the Bank of England and HM Treasury. He provided strategic advice and analysis in support of policy and undertook key submissions for the Budget, as well as policy and thought leadership work across financial services, tax, Brexit and international trade.
Prior to that, Suren worked as an economist at the Lloyds Banking Group for five and a half years, developing new research to maintain the group as a thought leader on the UK economy; as well as compiling research on corporate lending, UK mortgage and savings markets, commodity markets, international finance and investment.
Stephen Williams, Audit Partner, Deloitte
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Steve is a Financial Services audit partner, who has over 30 years’ experience of working with major retail banks and payments companies. He has worked internationally spending 8 years in South Africa and central Europe, and holds significant governance roles within Deloitte being a member of our European Board and previously Chairing our own Audit & Risk Committee. As our European Audit & Risk Committee Chair for 4 years he led the risk governance response over the uncertain early months of COVID, and through navigating the impacts of the start of the Ukraine War.
He is also the partner sponsor for our own Sustainability programme, called WorldClimate.
Hugh Carr, Senior Consultant, DTP
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Hugh is a senior consultant with the specialist social housing consultancy DTP. He is a member of ICEAW and CIPFA, and spent 12 years as Director of Finance at Dumfries and Galloway Housing Partnership, Scotland’s second largest housing association, where he led on the funding of one of Scotland’s largest social housing development programmes. He joined DTP in 2020.
Hugh is experienced in short and long term financial and business planning, governance and risk management, ICT strategies, and managing large debt portfolios. He brings the perspective of an experienced non-executive, having served on four housing association boards, including chairing a housing and care provider for five years, and he chaired the Board of Dumfries and Galloway College through the pandemic period.
Gemma Cross, Director of Financial reporting, SMS PLC
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Gemma is Director of Financial Reporting at SMS plc, an integrated energy infrastructure company owning and managing carbon reduction assets. She is a member of ICEAW following qualification in 2013 and spent eight years in external audit at PwC, working with a variety of high-profile clients in the asset and wealth management industry. On return from an overseas secondment in Toronto, Gemma made the decision to move across into industry and joined SMS in 2018. Gemma has extensive experience in leading teams and delivering to multiple stakeholders and is passionate about driving positive change.
Matthew Whitehead, FD, BFD, Bulmer and Lumb
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Matthew was born and grew up in Huddersfield, earned his degree at Huddersfield University – he then signed up for a degree in Business Studies - but I was convinced by a passionate lecturer to add Environmental Management - at the time - nearly 25 years ago - this was novel and there was not much interest in the environment.
Matthew then joined KPMG in Leeds along with 28 other graduates. Worked hard, studied then qualified as an ACA and gained access to the inner workings of so many businesses as part of the the Audit and Assurance Team. He then moved to Grant Thornton in Manchester, and as a smaller firm than KPMG he had a greater variety and size of clients.
Matthew then made the move to Industry as a Finance Director and Company Secretary back in September 2005 - to Bulmer & Lumb Group Limited a textiles manufacturer - over 300 employees - multiple sites - changing banks to facilitate the purchase a Polish state owned manufacturing plant with 300 employees… growth and change.
Then more change - shareholders retiring and exiting - sale of part of the UK operations and a site to a huge Chinese Company - closure of the Polish manufacturing plant - change of banks - Brexit - repositioning as a smaller manufacturing company and growing the property side of the group - restructuring - Covid - introducing new environmental product lines - growth in different directions and change…
Matthew Whitehead FCA ICAEW BA (Hons) Business Studies and Environmental Management.
Scott Martin, Karbon Homes
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Scott Martin FCA started his career with KPMG before moving into senior finance and management roles in the house building sector.
He spent 10 years at Barratt Homes North East as Finance Director and Managing Director before taking the position as Group Finance Director for Story Homes.
Scott joined Karbon Homes in 2020 as Executive Director of Resources, responsible for finance, treasury, ICT and people and organisational development. During his time at Karbon, Scott has worked on the issue of £100m of listed loan notes and the merger of three organisations into the Karbon Group (Byker Community Trust, Leeds and Yorkshire Housing Association and South Tyneside Housing Ventures Trust), growing homes under management by 4,000 to 32,000.
Scott is a member of the National Housing Federation’s Housing SORP working party, an audit committee member of Prosper Procurement Limited and governor of Teesside University.
Justin Januszewski, Head of Finance Inflo Software
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Justin Januszewski (FCA) is the Head of Finance and Compliance at Inflo Group Limited.
Inflo makes leading-edge technologies accessible to the accounting profession by providing digital solutions, knowledge, and support to accountants; to allow them to provide more effective and valuable audit services to their clients.
Inflo is a cloud-based software application which combines unparalleled data acquisition, embedded client collaboration, progressive data analytics, dynamic reporting and a proprietary methodology and work papers solution in a single platform.
Justin began his career in PwC where he spent 7 years working in statutory audit and risk assurance. Following this, he spent time in financial services where he focused on finance and information security risk management.
Simon Davison, Finance Director, Sewell Group
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Simon Davison is Group Finance Director of Sewell Group, a diverse group of businesses that span sectors from construction and estates consultancy to forecourt convenience stores, investments and facilities management.
As Finance Director, Simon works closely with the managing directors of the range of business units to ensure the business is always moving forwards and taking opportunities, whilst at the same time having robust financial controls and governance. He heads a team of finance professionals, overseeing all financial functions and over the years has led on a number of new system roll outs, group restructures and acquisitions.
Simon’s a Fellow Chartered Accountant (ICAEW), and before joining Sewell Group in 2005, he previously spent a decade as an auditor with PricewaterhouseCoopers.
Outside of work, Simon’s a season ticket holder for his beloved Hull City, and when not cheering them on, he’s usually found taxiing his two teenage kids around.
Gillian Bardin, Entrepreneur In Residence, Lancaster University
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Gillian is an inspiring leader who challenges to make a difference. She enjoys seeing people develop and reach their true potential.
She has a strong background in business strategy, finance and leadership. Her previous role as Managing Director included leading a management buy out (twice) and the eventual sale of the business.
She is currently a NED at Puddle Ducks Franchising, an Entrepreneur in Residence at Lancaster University, a Governor at Burnley College and hold a committee position with ICAEW Lancashire & South Lakeland having been President in 2016/17.
Andrew Harbot-Taylor, Financial Controller, Awaze Ltd
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Andrew Harbot-Taylor is the Financial Controller of Awaze Vacation Rentals, a Holiday agency behind well known brands such as Hoseasons, James Villas and Cottages.com. Having briefly worked in IT after his university degree Andrew joined KPMG in St Albans in 2015 before joining Awaze in 2019. Andrew is part of the Diversity & Inclusion Group at Awaze, is the D&I Representative on the Lancashire & South Lakeland ICAEW committee and has recently attended an ICAEW workshop in London which was filmed for the website and social media.
James McMillan, CEO, myNexus
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James McMillan is co-founder and CEO of myNexus Limited creating digital tools for entrepreneurs, investors, and business support providers that improve the success rate of early-stage business. His vast experience from a 20 year plus career cuts across practice and industry with a focus on business growth and entrepreneurship, having worked in everything from corporate finance and c-suite finance roles, to HR, strategy, logistics and operations both for high profile brands such as LVMH and BT Group, and via his SME business consultancy Audeo Fortis. Also an IoD Non-Executive Director of the Year 2020, he holds NED and advisory positions on boards spanning from e-commerce to social impact measurement.
Clive Bawden BA(Hons) BFP FCA. Founder & Director of Governance360 and Look After Business
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Clive is an experienced executive and non-executive director. An ICAEW Chartered Accountant, Clive also holds an MBA with Distinction from Birmingham Business School in addition to his first degree in Greek (Ancient & Modern). His previous career includes roles in industry (Saint-Gobain and Inchcape), professional services (KPMG and Catalyst Corporate Finance) as well as strong connections to the technology world and Innovation Birmingham Campus, where he was the first Entrepreneur in Residence in 2013. He is founder of TechNation rising star 2021 Governance360, a software platform helping private organisations and charities upskill directors and develop stronger board process.
He is Chief Operating Officer of the Warwick Music Group in Tamworth and Independent Director of Exeter City Football Club. He is also an independent non-executive director at SkateboardGB and Trustee at Birmingham Museums Trust.
Shirley Hutchinson, Group Strategy Director, Ischebeck TITAN Group
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Shirley is currently a Group Strategy Director at Ischebeck Titan Limited, a privately owned group of companies operating in the construction industry across the UK, Middle East and Australia. Shirley's role includes leading a five-year restructuring programme, facilitating the achievement of strategic objectives and leading Finance, HR and IT. Shirley has been working with Ischebeck since 2004.
Shirley is FCA qualified – she qualified with Deloitte in the early 90s and moved to industry shortly after, firstly working with Blue Circle at Armitage Shanks Limited and then with Smith Industries at Adaptaflex Limited. Shirley had been part of the ICAEW West Midlands Regional Strategy Board before moving to Ischebeck.
Ed Slegg BFP ACA, Group Commercial Finance Director, Halfords Plc
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Ed joined Halfords in 2021 and now leads a team of over 50 colleagues spanning Commercial Finance and Loss Prevention. The team are now laser focused on supporting Halfords achieve its medium-term goal of evolving into a consumer and B2B services-focused business. In addition to this, Ed has been at the heart of recent acquisitions made by Halfords’ including Universal Tyres, National Tyres and most recently Lodge Tyres. Ed has a passion for getting the best out of people through challenging colleagues and trusting them to deliver whilst also providing coaching and support.
Having previously spent time in KPMG’s Restructuring practice, Ed has an array of experience supporting businesses with financial and operational turnaround as well advising on M&A. Ed’s experience spans a number of sectors but has always had a particular focus on automotive.
Amanda Carter BSc(Hons) BFP FCA, Head of Finance at Tata Motors European Technical Centre
View Amanda's LinkedIn profile
Tata Motors European Technical Centre is a Design and Engineering R&D centre supporting its parent company Tata Motors Limited in India. Amanda trained with Touche Ross in Birmingham, and has subsequently worked for a construction company, a small accountancy practice in Coventry, an insurance broker, and she spent a few years as a sole practitioner when her children were young. In her spare time Amanda enjoys gardening and doing yoga.
Annelie Grey, Head of Planning & Performance, Principality Building Society
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Annelie is Head of Planning & Performance at Principality Building Society with responsibility for strategy, financial planning & analysis, business intelligence and data analytics.
Annelie is a chartered accountant with over 20 years experience, including 14 years in audit at Deloitte, and joined Principality in 2018 as Head of Financial Reporting and Control. In 2021 she became Head of Customer Services, leading a team of 200 colleagues across underwriting, telephony operations, customer and operations support, outcome testing, mortgages and savings admin and operational resilience, before moving back into finance to her current role in 2023.
David Hieatt, Co Founder, Hiut Denim Co.
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As the Co-Founder of Hiut Denim Co and The Do Lectures, I have over 15 years of experience in creative direction, new business development, and business innovation. I am also the author of Do Purpose and Do Open, two books that share my insights and lessons on building purpose-driven and open businesses.David's mission is to make a positive impact on the world through his work. With Hiut Denim Co, David aims to revive the jeans industry in a small town that lost its main employer, and to produce high-quality jeans with minimal environmental footprint. With The Do Lectures, David curates and host inspiring talks and workshops that encourage people and businesses to do amazing things. The talks are given for free online and have reached over 150 million views. The Do Book Co publishes books from speakers at The Do Lectures, which are available worldwide.
Heather Anstey-Myers, CEO of Manufacturing Wales
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Heather is an Executive Coach who supports you to build your resilience and develop your personal and organisational development strategies to enhance your leadership growth and performance. She is a Business coach who supports your business strategy, creating efficiencies, managing a positive culture and who helps you to understand your leadership organisational dynamics and works with you to find the barriers to your growth. Heather usesa unique blend of expertise, empathy, and strategic thinking I create a supportive environment for my clients and their businesses to thrive.
Michael Rainer, CFO, FatFace
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Michael is a big four trained CFO with over 25 years of consumer focused financial, commercial, operational, M&A, listed market and PE exit experience, gained from all product groups in multi-site, multi-channel, multi-national retailing. Driving strategic and tactical business change in non-finance disciplines through a robust and challenging approach. Creating a vision and set of values that lead and motivate teams to transform organisational culture.
Khawar Meer, Head of Regularity Reporting, Europe Arab Bank
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Khawar is the Head of Regulatory Reporting at an international bank in Mayfair, London. He is an ICAEW-qualified Chartered Accountant. He has held positions at PwC, EY, and a leadership role with a EU Systemic Important (SI) banking institution. Khawar's expertise lies in prudential risk, regulation, and sustainable finance, and has been a member of the ICAEW South East committee since 2021.
Jacques Van Zyl, CFO, BNP Paribas Asset Management
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Jacques qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2002. After 11 years with PwC he moved into Financial Services during 2005 and is currently the CFO for BNP Paribas Asset Management in London.
Doug Field OBE, Chief Executive Officer, East of England Co-op
View Doug's LinkedIn profile
Doug is the CEO of the vibrant and dynamic East of England Co-op, a society that has thrived for over 150 years and continues to grow with passion and purpose.
The East of England Co-op take immense pride in being the largest independent retail business in East Anglia, with a remarkable presence spanning more than 200 trading outlets across 70 diverse towns and villages in Norfolk, Suffolk, Essex and recently Cambridgeshire.
Beyond the East of England Co-op, Doug has been actively involved in initiatives that make a positive difference in our region. He was previously a Chair of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and is currently a Trustee, and Vice-Chair, of the esteemed Green Light Trust.
Ali Ansari, Managing Director, Taulia
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Ali is a finance and Technology executive with over 25 years’ experience of managing complex businesses and driving growth through leadership, innovation, and customer centricity
Colin Field, CEO, Saffron Building Society
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As the CEO of Saffron Building Society, Colin leads a team of 200 colleagues and oversee the strategic direction, financial performance, and operational excellence of one of the UK's oldest and most trusted mutual organizations. With over eight years of experience in this role, he has successfully implemented a number of business change and transformation initiatives that have enhanced their customer service, increased profitability, and strengthened resilience in a competitive and regulated market.
Josephine Muncaster, Financial lead, Digilab
View Josephine's LinkedIn profile
Jo trained as an auditor and in 2016, moved 8,000 miles to be Financial Controller for the National Development Agency and Tourist Board in the Falkland Islands, supporting growth of the local economy. Back in the UK, she has focused on supporting companies with building and improving their company processes with a focus on decarbonisation decision-making and data analytics. Jo is currently the Finance Lead for digiLab, a tech start-up building digital twin software and supporting the integration of AI into all sectors. She is Chair of the ICAEW Southern, Wales and South West Sustainability Committee, supporting regional members with practical advice on sustainability matters.
Darcy Corben, FD, Beagle Aircraft
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Darcy qualified with KPMG Southampton in 1993 and has worked in the South Coast area ever since, mainly in manufacturing and engineering businesses. He has held FD roles at Cobham Surveillance, Chemring Countermeasures, and Ultra Energy, and is currently Finance Director at Beagle Aircraft in Christchurch. He is also a trustee of SCiA, a group of social care and wellbeing charities based in Southampton.
James Bowen, Director of Finance, FirstGroup plc
James is Director of Finance for FirstGroup PLC, a market leader in the public transportation industry. James started his career in audit at Ernst & Young and worked in several listed PLCs before joining FirstGroup in 2007. James spent many years in the Bus division and joined the Group team in 2021 to lead the finance function.
The opinions expressed by external guest speakers in interviews or other publications included on this website are, by their nature, those of the speaker. They are not necessarily fully endorsed by the ICAEW or purport to reflect the official policies and views of the ICAEW or its members.
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