Winner: Katherine Lee, YouGov plc
As chief financial officer of online market research company YouGov,
Katherine Lee has overseen a year of tremendous growth.
During 2006, sales more than tripled to £9.47m, while operating profit
quadrupled to £3.86m.
The UK business reported growth of 65% at a time when the rest of the sector
was reporting a 25% rise, while shareholders of the AIM-listed company would
have been more than pleased with the 286% increase in earnings per share. The
2007 interim results showed similar promise, with turnover up 61% and profit
before tax up 64% to £2.3m
This is a tremendous achievement for Lee, in her first FD role – having
started in July 2005 – and she has been earmarked as a potential FTSE 100 FD of
the future and
identified as one of the new generation of female finance directors,
following on from the course plotted by the likes of Margaret Ewing and Helen
During her time at YouGov, Lee has been responsible for building her finance
team from one part-time finance executive to nine staff; the transformation of
the finance structure; new reporting systems and internal controls; and was
instrumental in relocating the head office to a larger site.
Lee’s background has been in corporate finance and, as such, she plays a
crucial role in the company’s acquisition strategy. She works closely with chief
executive Nadhim Zahawi to identify targets and assess the strategic fit.
Our judges said: ‘This is an FD that is going places. She has played an
exceptional role and maintained an exceptional standard of work. She has put an
enormous amount of work into the company and is part of a team that has been
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