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FD of the Future 2012: And the winner is…?

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These young financial stars have risen to the challenge of providing management information post-Indian acquisition; running an entire subsidiary business and steering one of the UK’s greatest high-growth technology stories. What next for the finalists in the 2012 FD of the Future award, supported by Ernst & Young?

Janet Hall is financial controller at Liverpool’s oldest manufacturing business, RS Clare. Described by her chairman as “extraordinarily hard working, and unquestionably she has the company’s best interests at heart”, she is destined for the very top. After winning a €4m contract, Janet implemented a restructure within the finance department to enable the department to service the business. Described by the judges as having “an inspiring personal story”, Janet has overcome adversity on several occasions, yet persisted in her determination to succeed. She has, they said, huge further potential still to be realised.

Sarah Moynihan is group financial controller at Marshalls of Cambridge, the large family-owned automotive and aerospace group. So respected is Sarah that, in June 2012, she will become group company secretary and the only woman to sit on the board. Her achievements at Marshalls are wide-ranging and impressive, including running one subsidiary business. The judges were impressed by the respect she’s earned in a complex organisation. Her own group finance director says simply, “I have no doubt she will be my replacement in less than five years.”

Brad Petzer is group financial controller at Telecity Group, whose recent achievements include: leading the finance team through a main market IPO, to a very tight timetable; implementing risk management and governance processes into the business; co-leading the team that delivered a number of bolt-on acquisitions, backed-up by debt-financing structures; and managing an international team. The judges were impressed with his part in taking a small business through to a substantial one. “A hugely impressive financial controller who’s passionate about taking his career forward,” they said.

Whitbread’s director, finance and commercial, Matthew Price was described by judges as “a real operational CFO in the making” Enjoying the respect of Whitbread’s board, he clearly wants to be the next group CFO! The Costa division, where he works, has had a fantastic run and the financials are hugely strong. Before joining Whitbread, Matthew worked for Sodexo and for nine years at Sainsbury’s in a variety of finance and commercial roles, including director of property and retail finance director.

Tony Broadhurst, finance manager of the actuarial group Barnett Waddingham was described by judges as “polished, hard-working, conscientious, a good manager and a strong financial controller.” In his role, he provides support and financial information to the core business areas, as well as sitting on the finance and administration board, the flex benefits committee and a working party to facilitate the development of accounting by practice area. Tony graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Economics and Geography in 1993 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2000 becoming a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in 2010.

Paul Lawlor, finance manager at Sleaford Quality Foods, is “a very bright guy”, said the judges. He stepped up from finance manager to acting FD overnight and has made a real success of that and is now taking on more responsibility within the group. He provides strong information within the business. Sleaford’s acquisition by the Indian Jain group has brought new management information demands (including moving year-end), all of which have been securely handled. Says his MD James Arnold: “Paul’s ability to communicate effectively and contribute to the business in a commercial sense, rather than just in a finance role, sets him apart.”

The FDs’ Excellence Awards, in association with ICAEW, are held on May 24 at the London Marriott Grosvenor Square. For the full shortlists, including FTSE 100, 250 and Smaller Quoted candidates, visit the awards website. The awards are also supported by Lombard, Ernst & Young, Lloyds Banking Group, Kaplan Financial, Drax and the London Evening Standard.

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