Judges

NOMINATION CRITERIA

JUDGING IS RIGOROUS, FAIR AND HONEST.

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.

Chris Neale

Joint Head of Audit
BHP LLP

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Chris is a Partner and Joint Head of Audit for BHP LLP, Yorkshire’s largest independent firm of accountants and advisors. BHP and Translink Corporate Finance specialise in providing expert transactional, commercial & structuring advice as well as compliance services to the region’s thriving privately owned mid-market businesses.
He joined BHP in 2020 following 14 years working at PwC across both Yorkshire and the Midlands. He has provided audit, accounting advisory and other assurance services to a number of renowned listed and privately-owned businesses across various sectors and has supported a number of his clients through high profile transactions including IPOs in the UK and the US. Since joining BHP his focus has been on the Leeds Corporate market where he has successfully grown both his team and his client base significantly.
Chris lives in York with his wife and two energetic (!) young boys. He is a big football fan and enjoys spending time coaching his local junior team.

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We’re absolutely thrilled to have the opportunity to sponsor the Northern FD Awards and recognise some of the brightest and best talent across the North. Our region is home to some incredible businesses and the role that our CFOs & FDs have in driving that should never be under-estimated. We’re excited to be able to support the awards and celebrate what the North has to offer.

Rachel Smith

Experienced Finance Director

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Rachel is an experienced finance director, having worked across a range of industries, from retail to financial services to tech consultancy.
Qualifying as a chartered accountant with PwC, Rachel spent 15 years in finance roles in large complex organisations and for the past seven years has worked as a fractional Finance Director, providing strategic financial support and advice to Leeds SMEs across a range of industries.
Oliver Laird

Highly experienced Board level CFO and NED

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A highly experienced Board level CFO and NED with extensive experience in the retail, financial services and manufacturing sectors. Oliver is a commercially focused executive with a proven track record of building businesses, delivering strategic change and operational improvements that drive uplifts in profits, increase shareholder value and improve the control environment. He has held CFO positions with First Direct Bank, and listed businesses CPP plc and Lookers. He has also held NED positions for The British Council, Leeds University Union, St Anne’s Community Services, Beverley Building Society and Vanquis Bank.
John Laud

Head of West & North Yorkshire
Barclays Corporate Banking

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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.

Saeeda Amin

Chartered Accountant
Former Chief Financial Officer, Fox’s Biscuits

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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.

Sandip Khroud

Partner
Hill Dickinson

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Sandip is a partner and heads the Corporate team. He has expertise in private transactional work including venture capital, private equity, disposals, mergers and acquisitions.

Sandip advises on all aspects of corporate finance work. He acts for financial institutions, private equity houses, private companies, owner managed businesses and management teams in the acquisition and disposal of private companies, many of which are cross-border.
He regularly leads large legal teams on complex multifaceted deals for clients across a range of sectors including food, healthcare, engineering, business services and IT/Tech.

Glenn Hayes

Partner
Hill Dickinson

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Glenn is a partner and specialist in all aspects of employment law. He advises both companies and individuals on non contentious and contentious matters.

Glenn has practised employment law for over 20 years and was previously National Head of Employment Law at a large regional law firm. He acts mainly for companies and senior executives. His experience covers all aspects of employment law including high value discrimination and whistleblowing complaints.
Glenn has significant experience of appearing in the Tribunals of England, Scotland and Wales. As well as being an experienced Employment Tribunal advocate, he also advises on a wide range of employment law matters, including:
The enforcement and defence of restrictive covenants
Senior level appointments and exits
Outsourcing
Large scale reorganisations and redundancy.
He has extensive experience of advising in transactional matters and has a particular expertise in TUPE acting for both buyers and sellers (and those involved in service provision changes) on all legal and practical matters.
He has acted for both employers and employees on claims for breach of contract, unfair and constructive dismissal, all aspects of discrimination matters, equal pay, whistleblowing and unlawful deduction from wages claims. He is regarded as a holiday pay expert and also advises on industrial relations matters.
He has led teams that have won multiple awards and is well known for his straight-talking practical advice.
Glenn has a wide-ranging employment practice with clients from a variety of sectors using him for their employment law needs. He receives work from a wide variety of sources including accountancy firms, other law firms, and an extensive network.
He has advised on a number of large scale Settlement Agreement projects and has extensive experience of running these.
Client experience includes providing support to a number of large and small businesses in a variety of different fields. He acts for a number or high profile and well-known household names such as the Capita Group plc, Diligenta, and Begbies Traynor plc.
Glenn is recognised for his technical expertise in specialist areas such as holiday pay and overtime, assessing employment status and providing tactical and strategic support to businesses to assess and minimise risk.
Glenn is a regular presenter at seminars and training events and is invited to speak at large scale conferences. He has been the judge at a number of Mock Tribunal events arranged for clients and has presented seminars for third parties and clients/contacts.
Glenn studied law at the University of Newcastle graduating in 1999 with a 2:1 degree.
He then passed the Legal Practice Course at Northumbria Law School graduating with a distinction.

Ross Faith

Highly experienced CFO/NED and Investor

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Ross is a highly experienced CFO/NED and Investor who has held board positions in a number of successful PE backed companies as well more recently helping the well known Booths Supermarkets grow and thrive through a successfully executed long term change programme.

Alastair Mitchell

Highly experienced CFO

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Alastair is a very experienced CFO who has, over nearly 4 decades, worked across many sectors including manufacturing, software, leisure and hospitality, and FMCG. He is currently CFO of Platinum Stairlifts Ltd in Keighley which is a Private Equity backed business manufacturing stairlifts for the UK and Europe.
His varied experience has included global multinationals, large international businesses, as well and listed UK businesses and private equity backed companies all of which had ambitious plans to achieve high performance and growth.
He trained and worked as a Chartered Accountant with EY in London before moving to PepsiCo, initially as an International Internal Audit Manager. He then moved with his family to Hong Kong and then Budapest to assume a number of Regional Financial Controller and CFO roles in their soft drinks business. After nearly a decade overseas Alastair returned to the UK as CFO and then Managing Director of Georgica PLC a leisure and hospitality business listed on AIM. His experience there included building a new finance function in Milton Keynes, implementing new finance systems, fundraising, acquisitions, disposals and bank refinancing. Subsequent experience included 9 years as CFO of Sage UK and Ireland with further M&A experience as well as leading business transformation and rationalisation projects.
Alastair is also Treasurer and Trustee of the PROPs charity in Newcastle which supports the carers and families of people experiencing drug and alcohol problems.
Alastair lives with his family in Newcastle upon Tyne and commutes weekly to West Yorkshire.
John Halton

Partner
Michael Page

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Glenn is a partner and specialist in all aspects of employment law. He advises both companies and individuals on non contentious and contentious matters.

Glenn has practised employment law for over 20 years and was previously National Head of Employment Law at a large regional law firm. He acts mainly for companies and senior executives. His experience covers all aspects of employment law including high value discrimination and whistleblowing complaints.
Glenn has significant experience of appearing in the Tribunals of England, Scotland and Wales. As well as being an experienced Employment Tribunal advocate, he also advises on a wide range of employment law matters, including:
The enforcement and defence of restrictive covenants
Senior level appointments and exits
Outsourcing
Large scale reorganisations and redundancy.
He has extensive experience of advising in transactional matters and has a particular expertise in TUPE acting for both buyers and sellers (and those involved in service provision changes) on all legal and practical matters.
He has acted for both employers and employees on claims for breach of contract, unfair and constructive dismissal, all aspects of discrimination matters, equal pay, whistleblowing and unlawful deduction from wages claims. He is regarded as a holiday pay expert and also advises on industrial relations matters.
He has led teams that have won multiple awards and is well known for his straight-talking practical advice.
Glenn has a wide-ranging employment practice with clients from a variety of sectors using him for their employment law needs. He receives work from a wide variety of sources including accountancy firms, other law firms, and an extensive network.
He has advised on a number of large scale Settlement Agreement projects and has extensive experience of running these.
Client experience includes providing support to a number of large and small businesses in a variety of different fields. He acts for a number or high profile and well-known household names such as the Capita Group plc, Diligenta, and Begbies Traynor plc.
Glenn is recognised for his technical expertise in specialist areas such as holiday pay and overtime, assessing employment status and providing tactical and strategic support to businesses to assess and minimise risk.
Glenn is a regular presenter at seminars and training events and is invited to speak at large scale conferences. He has been the judge at a number of Mock Tribunal events arranged for clients and has presented seminars for third parties and clients/contacts.
Glenn studied law at the University of Newcastle graduating in 1999 with a 2:1 degree.
He then passed the Legal Practice Course at Northumbria Law School graduating with a distinction.

Chris L’Aime

Head of CFO
Page Executive

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Chris L’Aime is a partner in Page Executive’s CFO Practice across the North of England, focusing on senior financial leadership search mandates for clients. Chris began his career in 2002 after graduating from Manchester University, and has spent the majority of his time focused on the senior finance market working for the two largest specialist recruitment firms in the UK. Based from the Manchester and Liverpool offices, Chris spends much of his time managing search mandates, meeting and assessing the best finance talent for clients, supporting hundreds of different clients from large FTSE listed plcs, through to startups and entrepreneurial privately owned businesses. Chris spent four years between 2013 and 2017 managing senior search mandates across the Middle East and Africa from Dubai, before returning to the UK to focus again on the senior market in the North of England.