PracticeAccounting FirmsJudging panel for the 2002 Accountancy Age Awards for Excellence

Judging panel for the 2002 Accountancy Age Awards for Excellence

This year saw the Accountancy Age Awards for Excellence put together one of the strongest judging panels in its history. It includes some of the most respected and controversial names in practice, business and regulations.The awards shortlist for the awards is also one of the most impressive yet seen and features some of the most talked about and respected figures in their sectors. Read on to see who made the decisions this year.

Louise Brittain

is one of the UK’s top bankruptcy specialists, handling high profile cases such as former MPs Jonathan Aitken and Neil Hamilton. She began her career as an accountant at Deloitte Haskins and Sells as a graduate trainee in 1988 and then joined PriceWaterhouse as an insolvency administrator. In 1996 she joined Baker Tilly as an assistant manager and was made partner in 2001.

Neil Chisman is a member of the Financial Reporting Council and a non-executive director. A regular contributor to Accountancy Age’s Networking section on financial management issues, he is the former finance director of Stakis.

A pivotal player over the past year, Roger Davis, PwC partner and corporate governance expert, has vehemently defended accountants against the growing criticisms that have been levelled at auditors. An expert in corporate governance, the straight-talking Davis has also played a key role in the three-year consultation process on modernising UK company law.

Zahir Fazal is a senior partner at Horwath Clark Whitehill, specialising in pension schemes and financial sector work. As head of the firm’s pensions group, he is responsible for monitoring developments in the auditing of pension schemes. He has a wide experience of carrying out audits and giving advice to a large cross section of clients both public and private.

Desmond Flynn has been the inspector general and chief executive of the government’s insolvency service since October 2001. Previously, he was deputy inspector general for 12 years, advising ministers on insolvency policy and playing a leading role in developing the Insolvency Act 2000. He has also worked in international trade policy work. Flynn is also a part-qualified accountant.

Michael Groom is the ICAEW’s immediate past president. A non-executive director and former sole practitioner, he used his year in office to promote an enterprise agenda for SMEs.

The Commonwealth Games finance director and deputy chief executive David Leather answered all sceptics and critics by delivering a phenomenally successfully sports event both on and off the field. The KPMG-trained accountant ensured packed stadiums and arenas for the 11 days of competition in Manchester. Equally significantly, he ensured the games beat revenue targets, proving a major UK sports event could be remembered for the right reasons.

A controversial choice as judge, John Mayo is an accountant with considerable business experience, including his role as CEO designate at telecommunications equipment manufacturer Marconi. While embroiled in the controversy surrounding the former GEC company, Accountancy Age believes he brings a valuable insight to this year’s awards. A former director of Newcastle United, Mayo spent five years as financial director at Zeneca before moving to GEC in 1997.

Scotsman Grant Murray has been FD of Channel 5 since January 2001. The ACA-qualified accountant also has an MBA but his first degree was in science. He trained in the tax arm of Arthur Andersen in 1986 and got a job at Rank Group, heading the finances of United News and Media’s broadcasting and entertainment operations.

Australian-born Chris Walton has been finance director of EasyJet since 1999. Prior to joining the airline, Walton worked in the airline industry for 13 years, was a strategic planner at BP Australia, and was part of an Australian senator’s staff. The unconventional FD holds an MBA and has also obtained a pilot’s licence.

Until last year Chris Wobschall had largely spent his career in the public sector at the National Audit Office where he audited various government departments and related public bodies. CIPFA-trained Wobschall is now secretary to the industry’s new watchdog, the Accountancy Foundation, and its Review Board. During the 1990s he also worked as an accounting advisor to the Office of Telecommunications and in a UK reserved audit post at the European Court of Auditors.

Andrew Sawers has been editor of Financial Director magazine since 1997, previously he worked on Business Age and Accountancy Age. In his earlier career, he worked as a stockbroker with Phillips & Drew, now UBS Global Asset Management. This year he was named business writer of the year at the annual PPA Awards, the magazine industry’s equivalent to the Oscars.

John Court is head of the information technology faculty at the ICAEW. His work includes contributions to IT public policy and standards, technical writing, editing the faculty’s technical publications and responsibility for the work of the faculty’s technical committee, which oversees the faculty’s software information services.

Dennis Howlett has more than 25 years’ IT experience including ten years as a partner in a firm of regional chartered accountants. Over the last 12 years, he has become recognised as one of Europe’s leading enterprise software reviewers. Today he advises on software strategies, contributing to several European business and IT magazines.

Dennis Keeling is the founder of BASDA, the Business Application Software Developers Association. The association represents more than 350 of the worldås leading applications software developers and is the acknowledged voice of the industry, recognised by the United Nations, the European Commission and UK government.

John Oates is an executive partner in Baker Tilly’s information systems consultancy & assurance group and was recently elected deputy chairman of the ICAEW’s IT faculty. He also chairs the IT faculty’s technical committee and its software group. For much of his career he has specialised in computer audit and IT consultancy.

Andrew Pinder is the government’s e-envoy. Andrew reports directly to the prime minister and works alongside the e-minister, Patricia Hewitt who has overall responsibility for the government’s e-agenda. He has had spells with the Inland Revenue, where he became director of IT, as well as Prudential Corporation and Citibank.

General awards judging panel was chaired by Damian Wild, Accountancy Age editor; technology awards judging was chaired by Gavin Hinks, Accountancy Age news editor.

For more on the awards, including details of previous winners and how to ensure you are there on the night, go to

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