Our highly experienced judging panel is represented by each of the partners and representatives from the region’s most influential bodies. Judges will score and pick the winners from the individual interviews.

Craig Tomkinson

Group Chief Financial Officer
Bopran Holdings (2 Sisters Food Group)


2 Sisters Food Group is one of the largest food manufacturers in the UK, turning over £3 billion and employing 18,000 people across 20 manufacturing sites across Europe.

Craig Tomkinson re-joined 2 Sisters in 2018 as group CFO, to execute a new strategy of focusing on its core fresh poultry and meals business. Since then, the group has executed eight disposals, realising over £700 million of enterprise value – most notably a sale of the Fox’s Biscuits business to the Ferrero Group in 2020 for £246 million.

Over the last 18 months, the group has focused refinanced in the high yield bond market, and continued the turnaround of the core business, supplying poultry products and ready meals to customers including M&S, Aldi, Tesco, Lidl, Sainsburys, KFC, etc.


Craig returns to the Northern FD Awards as a judge this year, after previously winning the Best Northern Finance Director of a Company Over £100 Million in 2021.

Saeeda Amin

Chartered Accountant
Former Chief Financial Officer, Fox’s Biscuits


Saeeda Amin has over 20 years’ experience holding senior executive roles, supporting both entrepreneurial owner-managed and listed businesses, primarily across the branded food sector. She is a Chartered Accountant with a background as a chief financial officer (CFO), corporate finance lead and transformation leader. Her skills have been gained through delivering turnarounds, business integrations, mergers and acquisitions, supporting manufacturing-footprint rationalisation, and building empowered and engaged teams. Saeeda has a strong strategy and change-management focus, ensuring delivery of results for all stakeholders. She recently led the sale of Fox’s Biscuits to the Ferrero Group during the COVID-19 lockdown, successfully delivering the target transaction price. 

She is a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) inside and outside of the company’s walls, and is committed to building inclusive environments. 

Saeeda is also a trustee of Penny Appeal, a charity whose aim is to relieve hunger poverty and water poverty, and provide access to education for orphaned children worldwide.

In her spare time, Saeeda is often seen at Anfield; a lifelong follower of Liverpool football club, she has been fortunate enough to have been at the Champions League final three times, and was overjoyed to witness Liverpool lifting the trophy in 2019.

Beverley Shepherd

Finance Director
Econ Engineering Ltd


Beverley Shepherd is the finance director of Econ Engineering Ltd; she joined the company in 2014 as company accountant before being promoted to finance director three years later. Econ Engineering Limited, based in Ripon, North Yorkshire, is the UK’s leading manufacturer of gritters, de-icers, and snow clearance and highway maintenance vehicles. The company has grown significantly over the last few years and Beverley has made an outstanding contribution to the business’s success.

Beverley returns to the Northern FD awards this year as a judge, following her successful award of Finance Director of the Year (£25 million to £100 million) in 2018 and Finance Director of the Year for Leadership in 2022.


Giles Chesher  

Partner, Manchester
Squire Patton Boggs

Giles Chesher is a partner in the Global Corporate Practice. He is based in the Manchester office, where he heads up the Manchester Corporate team. Giles’ particular expertise covers mergers and acquisitions, IPOs and private equity. He has worked on a number of high-profile private equity and M&A transactions in the local, national and international markets, acting for a wide variety of corporate and institutional clients. Giles also acts as a trusted business adviser to corporate clients on structural, organisational and strategic legal matters, assisting with dynamic growth strategies, defensive cost-cutting measures and everything in between.

John Halton

Partner, CFO Practice
Page Executive


John Halton is a partner within the Page Executive CFO practice and over his 15 years with the group, he has successfully supported a broad range of companies, across all industries, in their search for senior finance professionals.

Originally planning to pursue a career in academia, gaining his Master’s Degree from Leeds University, John changed direction and after a successful career in sales and account management with an owner managed business, started his career with Page in the Sheffield office in 2008, successfully leading that business through the economic downturn.

Since then, he has managed Page Group operations across the North West and Midlands with his remit for the past seven years being entirely dedicated to executive finance recruitment in the North of England – specifically leading hires in to PE/VC-backed companies.


John is a keen football fan, watching and still trying to play, and has also been an enthusiastic amateur stand-up comedian.


Hannah Kendrick 

Squire Patton Boggs


Hannah Kendrick leads the Corporate Practice in Leeds and has a wide range of experience advising both public and private companies on mergers and acquisitions, fundraisings, takeovers, restructurings and reorganisations. She also leads the food and drink sector group for EMEA.

 Her work varies between UK and cross-border and she works closely with executives, in-house legal teams and general counsel both in the UK and globally. Hannah also leads the team focusing on the “G” of ESG and is a member of the Regional Advisory Group of the London Stock Exchange plc for the North East.

John Laud

Head of West & North Yorkshire
Barclays Corporate Banking

John is head of Barclays West & North Yorkshire Corporate Banking team and is based out of our Leeds office. The team has relationship directors and associate bankers that focus on SME businesses in a specific industry such as manufacturing, transport and logistics; consumer; professional services; and not-for-profit. John has spent over 30 years in corporate banking and was previously our national head of food, drink and packaging sector, where he managed our relationships across the globe with some of the biggest and most well-known brands. His wide range of corporate banking experience is now being put to good use in supporting the growth plans of our customers in Yorkshire.
Tim Knockton

Former Finance Director
Arc Inspirations Ltd

Tim Knockton has 25 years of finance and consulting experience across SME to FTSE companies.

He trained and qualified while working in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Industry and was a management consultant for EY in London, leading finance transformation, change and post-deal integration projects. He then returned to industry with KP Snacks in 2015.

Most recently, Tim was at Arc Inspirations for circa three and a half years and delivered a series of significant strategic projects through an unprecedented few years. He played a key role in supporting Arc through the COVID-19 pandemic, refinanced the business in 2021 for growth, and played a pivotal role in securing private equity investment in 2022.

Tim won Best Northern Finance Director for Covid Pandemic Response in 2021, and is delighted to return as a judge for 2023.