Confirmed Judges 2022

We pride ourselves on the integrity and diligence of our judging process. All judges are selected for their expertise and must have at least 10 years’ experience working in or around the finance sector.

Joanna Allen – IFA at AYP Financial Planning Limited

View Joanna’s Biography

Stephen Adair – Partner, Broad Chare Partners

View Stephen’s Biography

Daniel Bloxham – Managing Consultant, Finance – Permanent, Nigel Wright Group

View Daniel’s Biography

David Bradshaw FCA CTA ATT, Director – Bradshawnet Limited

View David’s Biography

Ken Campling, Finance Director – Hays Travel

Biography to follow

James Charlton – President of CIPFA North East

View James’s Biography

Keith Charlton, Deputy Fund Manager – FW Capital

View Keith’s Biography

Tracey Christy, Finance Director – Echo Events & Association Management

View Tracey’s Biography

Philip Clare, Partner -Muckle LLP

View Philip’s Biography

Alice Clewes – CIOT

View Alice’s Biography

Claire Conolly, Chief Financial Officer – Clearly Drinks Ltd

View Claire’s Biography

Sharon Coull, Finance Director – Drummond Central

View Sharon’s Biography

Jane Cuthbertson, Chief Operating Officer, Principalship – Tyne Coast College

View Jane’s Biography

Mark Dale, Principal Consultant Professional Services – Nigel Wright Group

View Mark’s Biography

Andy Donnelly, Managing Director – Donwood Glass

View Andy’s Biography

Jon Dudgeon Co-Founder and CFO – Blu Sky Tax

View Jon’s Biography

Brian Foreman, Branch Manager – Handelsbanken

View Brian’s Biography

Barry Gill FCCA, Director TIG Corporate Finance Ltd 

View Barry’s Biography

Tom Gilbert, Senior Controller Finance – Nissan

View Tom’s Biography

Dave Hawkins, Portfolio Executive – FW Capital

View Dave’s Biography

Clive Johnson, CIPFA

View Clive’s Biography

Mitch Johnson – Senior Tax Manager

View Mitch’s Biography

James Kyle  – Investment Director, Rathbones

View James’s Biography

Dawn Longmore,  Regional Manager – Northern Skills Group, Middlesbrough College Faculty for Health, Care, Business and Education

View Dawn’s Biography

Chris Lucarelli, Director – Cal Partners

View Chris’s Biography

Tim Mallon, Director – Mallon:Tax

View Tim’s Biography

Karen Muir,  Senior Manager, Customer Due Diligence, Financial Crimes Compliance – Homes England

View Karen’s Biography

Charlotte Owen, Associate Director, Finance – Permanent & Temporary, Nigel Wright Group

View Charlotte’s Biography

Gareth Phillips, Group Head of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) at Fentimans Ltd

View Gareth’s Biography

Peter Robinson – Partner and Head of Corporate Commercial, Jacksons Law

Biography to follow

Richard Slack, Professor in Accounting,  Durham University Business School

View Richard’s Biography

David Smith, Executive Director Resources – Broadacres Housing Association

View David’s Biography

Fiona Standfield – Chief Operating Officer at Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle

View Fiona’s Biography

Joanna Allen - IFA at AYP Financial Planning Limited

Jo is an independent financial planner with over 20 years experience advising a range of corporate, sme and individual clients.  She works closely with a range of professionals within the legal and accountancy sectors.  She is passionate about advice for women and ethical investing. Her independent viewpoint and professional experience will be a positive advantage in judging at the awards.

Stephen Adair is a Partner of Broad Chare Partners, Chartered Financial Planner, Fellow of the Personal Finance Society and Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Securities & Investment.

 Stephen uses his experience as a business owner, and his high-level of professional qualifications, to provide high quality, tailored wealth management and comprehensive support in respect of the overlapping needs of the individual, family and business, which change from start-up to growth, succession or retirement.

 Broad Chare Partners is an Appointed Representative of and represents only St. James's Place Wealth Management plc (which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority) for the purpose of advising solely on the group's wealth management products and services, more details of which are set out on the group's website. The 'St. James's Place Partnership' and the titles 'Partner' and 'Partner Practice' are marketing terms used to describe St. James's Place representatives.

Broad Chare Partners is a trading name of Broad Chare Partnership LLP.

Daniel Bloxham

Dan is a Managing Consultant for the Finance Recruitment Team, whose current remit focuses on Permanent, Finance Leadership appointments throughout the North East of England. Recruiting across a broad range of professional disciplines, Dan advises organisations on talent acquisition.

Prior to joining Nigel Wright, Dan has 13 years' experience of working with internationally recognised talent management and development framework, Investors in People. Advising on improving business performance through effective people management and development practices. Latterly, he has worked for Grant Thornton, a global leader of audit, taxation and advisory services, specifically focused on people solutions through Account Management services.

David has been involved with the Association of Taxation Technicians since 2015. He is the Association’s Deputy President and Honorary Treasurer.  At various intervals over the past 15 years David has been Chair, Treasurer and Secretary of the North East England Branch of the Chartered institute of Taxation. He qualified as a Chartered Tax Adviser in 1984. He has spent time with all four of the world's largest accountancy practices and has specialised in taxation in both the SME marketplace and large corporate tax departments. He now provides corporation tax administration services for a number of North East businesses

James Charlton is the current President of CIPFA North East, which is the regional branch of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy. He began studying with CIPFA in 2016 and qualified in 2018.  He has worked at Newcastle City Council since 2011, both as an internal auditor and more recently in the Financial Services division as a senior accountant.

Keith Charlton – Deputy Fund Manager – F W Capital

Keith is a qualified Chartered Accountant and a highly experienced investment professional, having worked in the venture capital sector since 2001 and having been involved in a number of investment opportunities over a wide range of sectors.  He is currently Deputy Fund Manager at FW Capital, responsible for investing the Northern Powerhouse investment Fund and supporting North East-based SME businesses.

Prior to this Keith worked and qualified as a Chartered Accountant in the City Of London and had responsibility for delivering a full range of audit and corporate finance services to clients ranging from sole traders to FTSE listed companies.  Developing an interest in financial services Keith went on to work in financial services regulation with the Securities and Investments Board (now the FCA) and in the Listing Department of the London Stock Exchange.  Upon returning to the North East he served as Finance Director to several North East SME businesses and also provided fund raising, pre-investment appraisal/due diligence and financial management services to a number of local businesses.


Tracey Christy, Finance Director, Echo Events & Association Management

Tracey Christy is an experienced finance director with extensive financial knowledge gained from over two decades working within a range of different sectors, she oversees the day to day management of Echo and heads up the finance division.

Tracey manages the finance team who cover a wide range of services for clients, from the day to day back office finance functions, to more complex finance functions, such as cash flow and working capital management, foreign currency risk management, and preparation of Management Accounts and EU Project Reports for International clients.

Tracey specialises in finance system processes, reviewing and improving current systems. For clients this means improved efficiency, compliance and management information reporting.

Throughout her career Tracey has worked for employers such as the NHS, Royal Mail and Local Council, through to charities and private sector Ltd companies. Tracey is a fully ACCA qualified Accountant.


Philip Clare, Muckle LLP

Philip is a Partner in the Corporate Team at Muckle LLP. He advises clients on a whole range of corporate matters, such as business acquisitions and disposals, private equity transactions, other investments and corporate reorganisations. He frequently acts for clients buying or selling businesses and also regularly advises on company law and corporate governance matters.

George Clark - non executive Director of Nexus

With over 44 years public service experience. George spent 25 years at Newcastle City Council where he left as Chief Internal Auditor and Head of risk management and insurance. A qualified Accounting Technician in 1980 and then full Chartered Accountant in 1990 and in 2016 was elected as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

In 2001 he became an Inspector with the Audit Commission delivering over 50 assessments across all areas of the public sector (Police, Fire, NHS and Local Government) across England. In 2011 this career was prematurely cut short when the Government abolished the Audit Commission.

Currently providing his skills and experience to a number of bodies across the Tyne and Wear area;

  • North East Combined Authority - Vice Chair of Audit Committee
  • Nexus - Non-Executive Director sitting on the Executive Board and Remuneration Committee.
  • Nexus - Chair of Audit Committee
  • Independent Person for both Newcastle and North Tyneside Councils being consulted on all complaints against Councillors.
  • Chair of Board of Governors Tyne Coast College and Trustee of Tyne Coast Academy Trust.
  • Treasurer of Heaton Stannington AFC in the Northern League
  • Treasurer of 61st Newcastle (St Francis) Scout Group

Internationally he has worked with the Shanghai Municipal Reform project, with the Crown Agents and trained Chief Internal Auditors from Nigeria, Tanzania, Malawi, and Georgia. Had four tours of Bosnia to lecture Cantonal Finance Ministers and their staff, on their role in Public accountability, develop proper internal control processes and train their staff to provide an effective Internal Audit. Undertaken two projects in Macedonia developing anti-corruption hotlines and training programmes for the staff operating them.

He is a past President of CIPFA North East Region and in 2011 was awarded the Dr Hedley Marshall award for outstanding voluntary service to CIPFA’s regions over a 21year period.

George in what little spare time he has concentrates on spending time with his grandchildren

Alice is a Partner in Hay & Kilner’s private client department with over 18 years’ experience.

 Alice is dual qualified as a Solicitor and a Chartered Tax Adviser and is also a member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.  She advises clients on all aspects of private client work with key practice areas including Wills, trusts and tax planning; Probate and estate administration, Court of Protection and mental capacity.  Alice is currently Chair of the North East England branch of the Chartered Institute of Taxation whilst also continuing with her role on the branch committee to arrange the yearly education programme of seminars and webinars.

Claire Conolly - CFO, Clearly Drinks

Having qualified with KPMG, Claire moved into industry with the French pharmaceuticals group Rhodia before joining Sage Plc. Claire held a number of senior finance roles at Sage including Finance Director for the UKI business before moving to G4S as Finance Director for their Utility and Outsourcing business.

After divesting the business into private equity ownership, Claire took on the role of FD of the Energy Retail division of M Group Services covering five trading business before moving into her current role as CFO for the PE backed Clearly Drinks.


Sharon Coull, Finance Director – Drummond Central

Sharon has worked across a range of industries both in the UK and overseas. Previously Sharon was Finance Consultant at 360 Growth Partners, a Newcastle based business focused on working in close partnership with SME's to accelerate business growth. Other roles range from Finance Director at Tyneside Cinema, various finance leadership roles at Sage PLC and prior to Sage Sharon was based in Dubai working in the mobile telecoms sector.

Jane Cuthbertson, Chief Operating Officer, Tyne Coast College and Tyne Coast Academy Trust

Jane is the Chief Operating Officer for both Tyne Coast College and Tyne Coast Academy Trust and her career to date has spanned both public and private sector organisations working in both a client and contractor environment.

Jane has a wide range of volunteering activity regionally and nationally.  Regionally, Jane is a member of CIPFA in the North East and is a former President.  Nationally, Jane is an elected member of CIPFA Council and is the Vice Chair of the Remuneration and Nominations Committee.  Jane is also an independent Council member for the Association of Accounting Technicians.

Jane holds an MSc in Public Services Management, is a Fellow member of CIPFA and is a member of AAT.

Mark Dale

Mark is responsible for the recruitment of professional services staff for clients based in the North East region & Cumbria, across all salary levels.

Typical assignments cover roles within accountancy practices, law firms and back office support roles for corporate clients, including company secretarial, compliance, risk and regulatory disciplines across both the public and private sector.

Mark is responsible for both permanent and contract recruitment, and due to the diverse nature of the desk, has experience of contingent and retained search recruitment processes.

Mark has recruited for a number of international clients including Sage Plc, Engine FM, Puig UK Ltd, Avery Dennison, Formica and Deloitte LLP.

Andy has been Managing Director of Gateshead based Donwood Glass since 2005. During this time at the company, which employs 51 staff locally, his focus has been continuous improvement in all areas of the business as well as business growth. The day to day management of the company for nearly 20 years, has enabled him to develop a range of commercial attributes including sales, operations, marketing and logistics; leading on all aspects of financial planning, commercial analysis and forecasting.

Andy graduated in International Business with Italian from Liverpool John Moores University in 2001. Subsequently, Andy completed the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and more recently in 2019 completed the Legal Practice Course (LPC) at Northumbria University.

Jon Dudgeon – Co Cofounder & CFO – Blu Sky Chartered Accountants

CoFounder and CFO at award winning accountancy practice Blu Sky Chartered Accountants.

Jon as an accountant started with Arthur Andersen where he gained experience of working with a variety of clients,  he later joined Deloitte as an Audit Manager where he had responsibility for delivering a full range of audit services, business process advice and assurance to growing medium sized and FTSE 100 firms across the UK.

After working in the Big Four for six years, Jon decided it was time to leave practice so ventured into the Financial Service Sector, working for Aviva, GE Money and Santander.

In 2009 Jon cofounded BLU SKY. Whose vision is to develop a top 50 practice that is known nationally for delivering value driven, 'top notch' client service and business advice to ambitious high growth businesses.


Brian has 35 years of banking experience and currently heads up the Handelsbanken office in Newcastle, leading a team spanning both Corporate and Personal Banking.

Prior to joining Handelsbanken, Brian was head of SME at Barclays, but took up the new opportunity with Handelsbanken late in 2015 to provide a more bespoke offering to businesses and individuals in the region. He is a fully qualified Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers.

In former roles, spanning 3 decades, Brian has headed a centre of excellence for Football Finance, a role that carried a national mandate, being recognised for his Professional Services to the sector at the 2010 Football Awards. Brian has also been heavily involved with both the HE & FE sectors during his time as Head of Education across the North East & Yorkshire region.

Barry Gill is a founder and director of, TIG Corporate Finance and Hindley Capital, as well as having a number of other business interests. He is an ACCA qualified member, has more than 20 years of accounting experience and is the current chair of the ACCA Northern Counties region.

Tom Gilbert, Senior Controller, Nissan

Tom joined PwC in 2007 after graduating from the University of Nottingham with a French and History degree. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2010. His client portfolio was varied, working with companies in a broad cross section of industries including financial services, manufacturing, technology and sport. His time at PwC also included a two year period in France on secondment. In 2016 he moved to Nissan in Sunderland, and now leads their Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance teams. During this very challenging time, finance has helped to support the business deal with impact of Covid, Brexit and also the move towards electrification.


Dave is a Chartered Accountant and Chartered Banker with over 30 years of experience working in a variety of roles within Corporate and Commercial Banking in the North East, Scotland and London.

Previous roles have included Senior Area Manager of the Mid Markets team at Lloyds Banking Group, Area Director of Credit at Bank of Scotland and Global Relationship Director at HSBC.

Dave joined FW Capital in 2019 and currently supports a portfolio of SME clients across a wide range of sectors.  The common theme across all of his clients is that they have strong growth ambitions.  Dave works closely with management teams to help them deliver on their plans and, more recently, to navigate their path through the various challenges that external events have put in front of them.

Clive qualified as a CIPFA accountant in 1985 and has spent his career in finance, mainly in the public sector.  He has been involved in and delivered major change programmes, mergers and consolidations, and developing new accounting and reporting practices.

He is a qualified in PRINCE2 project management processes. Latterly Clive has been developing a strategic plan for a Housing organisation providing support to disadvantaged groups.

He is a past president of CIPFA North East.

Mitch Johnson is a past Chairperson of the local branch of the North East CIOT committee and is currently working as Senior Manager in EY’s Private Tax Compliance team in Newcastle specialising in UK personal taxation for UHNW and HNW clients.  Mitch previously worked at Dickinson Dees as it was called at the time, working in Trust Tax. He is an advocate for change and is a sponsor of EY’s local Inclusion and Belonging network.

James was one of the founding members of the Rathbones Newcastle office when it opened in the city in 2013.  Prior to that he was a Director at UBS Wealth Management. He has 22 years investment industry experience and specialises in the management of private client, trust, offshore and pension fund portfolios.

James graduated in Law from Newcastle University in 1998, holds the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI) Diploma and is a Chartered Fellow of the CISI.  James currently sits on the Appeals Committee of St Oswald’s Hospice charity and is a former trustee of the Great North Air Ambulance Service.

Dawn Longmore is the Regional Manager for Northern Skills Group under the Middlesbrough College Faculty for Health, Care, Business and Education. Northern Skills Group is part of The Middlesbrough College Group and Dawn manages all apprenticeship curriculum areas within the Business and Professional and Professional Skills Apprenticeship offering. She has worked for the organisation for 20 years and has managed the AAT Apprenticeships for 15 years, specialising in both industry and practice-based qualifications under in the AAT provision.

Chris Lucarelli, Director, Cal Partners

Chris is a Chartered Marketer, Member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Director of Cal Partners, a marketing, digital marketing and content generation agency working with professional services firms including accountancy, financial, healthcare and legal clients.

A law graduate from Northumbria University, Chris qualified as a practising solicitor in 1995, becoming a law firm partner recommended in both the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories. As the Chartered Institute of Marketing's top international award-winning post graduate diploma student in 2007 and recognising the growing impact of marketing in professional services, Chris made the transition to senior marketing and business development roles at a top 100 national law firm and leading barristers chambers. Given the increasing integration of digital in professional services marketing, Chris gained a post graduate diploma from the Digital Marketing Institute.

Chris founded Cal Partners in 2015 to help ambitious professional services businesses to use marketing to achieve their growth aspirations. In 2018, Cal Partners won the Agency of the Year (under 20 employees) Category of the North East Marketing Awards.

Chris regularly delivers marketing training sessions, including to professional bodies such as ACCA, as well as contributing with mentoring at Northumbria University and Digital Drive Durham.

Tim Mallon, Director - Mallon:Tax

A Chartered Accountant and Chartered Tax Adviser, Tim has worked in senior roles in a number of accounting firms.  He has spent over 30 years  in the North East  following six years working in London in the 1980s.  He is a former Chair of the North East England branch of the Chartered Institute of Taxation.  Tim is well known amongst clients and other professional advisers for his clear, practical advice.


Karen Muir, President Northern Society of Chartered Accountants, Homes England

Karen is the President of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants which supports members of the ICAEW across the North East and Cumbria.

Karen has worked in both the private and public sector. Upon qualification she worked in Corporate Recovery and Insolvency and spent several years working as a Corporate Recovery Manager. She is now a senior manager at Homes England, the government’s housing, land and regeneration agency, specialising in customer and financial due diligence and risk management.

Gareth Phillips – Group Head of Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A)  – Fentimans

Gareth leads the FP&A function at Fentimans, the premium botanical drinks brand founded in 1905 and based in Hexham.

Gareth started his career in practice as an auditor with EY, where he became a Chartered Accountant and worked with a diverse portfolio of clients across the UK.  He then moved into corporate finance with Newcastle-based firm UNW and advised on numerous deals including disposals, fundraises and MBOs.

In 2021 Gareth joined Fentimans as Group Head of FP&A, where his focus has been to embed an FP&A structure within the Group and develop a business-wide culture of profitability.  This has included establishing key business partnering forums in both the UK and US with sales, operations, marketing and logistics; leading on all aspects of variance reporting, commercial analysis and forecasting.

Keith was Regional Director in Northern England and Scotland for ICAEW (the Institute of Chartered Accountant in England & Wales) from September 2001 to December 2017; ultimately responsible for the interests of over 12,500 chartered accountants covering an area from Sheffield to Shetland.

With over 40 years’ experience in finance and monitoring the regional economy, Keith is now fulfilling advisory opportunities to help businesses, cultural venues and charities in the north east of England.

Having been engaged with his professional body throughout his career in finance, Keith was Chair of the Tyne & Wear Branch of the Northern Society of Chartered Accountants (NorSCA) in 1992-93 and President of NorSCA in 2020-21, one of the two “Covid President” terms of office!

Keith holds the BFP and FCA professional qualifications and is a Life Member of ICAEW.

Dr Richard Slack is Head of Accounting and professor in Accounting at Durham University Business School. Richard joined Durham University in 2012, having previously been Professor in Accounting at Newcastle Business School, Northumbria University. Prior to his academic career, Richard, a graduate of St Andrews University, worked at Price Waterhouse and is a qualified chartered accountant.

Richard’s research encompasses areas of accounting information and ethics. Specifically, Richard is interested in the way information is portrayed by companies and whether social and environmental disclosure is useful, or not, to stakeholder groups. Richard has a long track record in published research in leading international accounting and ethics journals including Accounting, Auditing and Accountability Journal, British Accounting Review and Journal of Business Ethics. He has been successful in three research funding projects. Currently, Richard is principal investigator on an ACCA funded project examining the use and usefulness of integrated reporting to capital market users. Former funded research was with ACCA to examine bank analysts' views on environmental disclosure and with the Nuffield Foundation to examine building society philanthropy.

Externally, Richard has served as visiting professor at University of Florence; is co-chair of the annual Financial Reporting and Business Communication (FRBC) conference and a member of the executive committee of the Financial Accounting and Reporting special interest group of BAFA. In recognition of his research standing, Richard serves on the Editorial Advisory board for the Journal of Applied Accounting Research and Accounting and Business Research.

Richard is a fellow of the Higher Education Academy and currently teaches on the full time and Executive MBA programmes. Richard is a very experienced doctoral supervisor, with seven doctoral completions and welcomes research interests in social and environmental accounting.


David Smith is a Chartered, Certified and Public Finance accountant with more than 20 years’ experience in central and local government and the housing sectors. After six years in the civil service, and more recently eighteen years in the Big Four, David now works for Broadacres Housing Association. As Executive Director of Resources David is responsible for finance and treasury management, legal services, procurement and facilities. He champions value for money and financial transparency.

Fiona Standfield – Chief Operating Officer – Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle 

Educated at the Universities of Leeds, Caen and Oxford, Fiona began her career as a fast-track Civil Servant in Whitehall, subsequently teaching Modern Foreign Languages and working in the House of Commons, before joining Royal Mail plc.  Fiona enjoyed a thirteen-year career with Royal Mail, undertaking operational, training and management roles both at home and abroad, including Home Shopping Sales Director, and culminating as Business Implementation and Delivery Director on a UK-wide IT Programme.

Since returning to the North East, Fiona has developed a portfolio career working across all three sectors. This has included her own consultancy practice – providing language services, project management and business development support to SMEs and social enterprises – and interim change leadership roles as Director, Newcastle Science City and North East Programme Director for Safe Families for Children.  She is currently Chief Operating Officer at the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle where her responsibilities include, among others, governance, finance, property, safeguarding, education, human resources, health & safety and data protection.

A former chair of an NHS Mental Health and Learning Disability Trust, Fiona is also employed by the Ministry of Justice as both a Specialist Lay Member of First Tier (Mental Health) Tribunals and Appraiser.

As well as supporting Durham University Business School and as a Trustee of the University’s Bede Chair of Theology, Fiona enjoys voluntary positions as a Trustee of Vindolanda, Chair of a Northumberland-based theatre company (November Club), a judge for the North East Accountancy Awards and a member of the Charity Advisory Panel for Age UK Northumberland.