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FDX 2014: Private Company FD

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Yvonne Sherry, Group FD, Ceuta Healthcare Limited 

Yvonne has been the FD of Ceuta Group for the last thirteen years, overseeing turnover growth from £4m to £53m. Described as an “inspirational leader”, she has been praised for her crucial role in securing Ceuta’s recent private equity backing. 

“She was, and continues to be, instrumental in the successful development of the company,” says former Ceuta chairman David Mair.

Other achievements include the implementation of systems and procedures which allowed Ceuta to work with big pharma and FMCG companies, and the development of an international alliance of 200 similar companies.

David Lamb, CFO, Bowman Power Group 

David is the CFO of £60m turnover engineering business Bowman Power, which develops heat energy recovery technology for engines. He has led the company through multiple rounds of funding, raising a total of £8m in three years, and developed a company-wide KPI programme to measure and promote excellence. 

CEO Toby King says: “David is an outstanding CFO but, just as importantly, he is an extremely strong strategic thinker, and thus adds huge value outside the world of finance.”

David has been instrumental in pushing down Bowman’s breakeven point and pushing up productivity, Toby adds.   

Richard Gibson, CFO, SwiftKey

Previous nominee Richard is CFO of smartphone tech company SwiftKey, which continues to show massive growth, with employee numbers growing from 84 to 130 in the past year alone. 

“His effective and collaborative management approach has been an essential element in managing this growth,” says SwiftKey chairman Mark Paterson. 

This year saw Richard’s key role in closing a round of series B investment – securing funds from UK, European and US investors and achieving a valuation 400 per cent higher than the previous round. 

“in addition to his technical skills and specific experience of private equity, Richard understands the very different needs of a young, rapidly expanding business,” Mark adds.

Ivan Gunatilleke, FD, The Car Finance Company 

Since being founded in 2007 The Car Finance Company has shown immense growth – it now turns over £35m and employs 300 people. Ivan was instrumental in this. 

After joining in 2011 he secured the company’s first major round of funding – £30m from a German bank, helping double turnover year-on-year. Since then the company has seen triple digit growth every year. 

“Ivan managed to steer us through this upscaling and financially masterminded the changes to the business,” says MD and founder Mark Smith. 

“Through Ivan’s devotion and sheer hard work the last three years have seen significant growth in all aspects of the business.” 

Andrew Northmore, South West FD for Forest Fuels 

Andrew provides outsourced FD services to Forest Fuels, a provider of wood fuel heating materials. Praised for his “exceptional” service and responsiveness, he has helped consolidate acquired group companies into the business. 

Forest Fuel MD Peter Solly says: “Our staff enjoy working with Andrew and his calm, un-flappable manner helps to keep people on board.

“There have been many times when I have asked out of the blue if he could do something that would take perhaps four to six hours. And the completed piece has come back within 12-24 hours, often with the email sent at two or three AM.”

Mark O’Hara, FD, Cheesmur Building Contractors

CBC was in a “terminal state” when Mark joined in 2009. Against the backdrop of a struggling economy and in a particularly troubled industry, he had a seriously tough job on his hands. 

The company’s turnover has since doubled, with further double digit growth expected this year. 

Steve Hayman, MD, says: “Mark is knowledgeable, experienced and tenacious. He thinks strategically, but also gets the detail.

“He has made an enormous contribution to the survival and growth of the business and deserves recognition for his efforts and achievements.”

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