2021 CICM British Credit Awards Judging Panel
Stephen is a Solicitor and Licensed Insolvency Practitioner who has specialised in business law, credit, debt and insolvency work since 1987, and has extensive experience in dealing with the full range of these procedures. Prior to setting up his own consultancy in 2008, he was a Business Recovery and Insolvency partner at a major law firm. He currently undertakes consultancy for a number of legal firms as well as pursuing other projects in the legal, insolvency and credit fields.
Stephen is a popular and sought after lecturer on insolvency and debt related matters to accountants, solicitors, bankers, company officers and credit managers. He is very involved in legal education, chairing the Assessment board for CICM and sitting as a member of the Qualifications Committee of CILEX. He also previously acted as a Technical Consultant to both Credit and Insolvency Today magazines and chaired for several years the premier Insolvency and Rescue Awards scheme for the industry. He was a senior member and Chair of ACCA’s disciplinary processes for a number of years and is now one of the Chairmen of the Methodist Church Disciplinary Process. In 2012 he was appointed the Deputy Independent Examiner for the Actuarial Profession. In 2013 he became Chairman of the Joint Insolvency Examination Board which oversees the examination and appointment of new Insolvency Practitioners and in June 2015 he was appointed as a Non-Executive Board Member of The Insolvency Service and the Chairman of the Board in January 2017. Thus, he is very involved at the heart of policy and procedure for the insolvency profession.
Stephen has previously collaborated on major works on both Personal and Corporate Insolvency and has written the leading text book “Enforcement of a Judgment” (Sweet and Maxwell) which was published in January 2016. He has also written and part collaborated in the last two years on two business and commercial law books for law students and others and which are utilised at the University of Law where he is a Part Time Tutor. He has just published the first book written on the new Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 for Lawbrief Publishing.
My name is Gail Armstrong and I am the Head of Invoice 2 Cash for Siemens Plc.
I have been in the credit industry for over 30 years, 25 of those with Siemens, specializing in B2B collections and commercial litigation.
Continual improvement and automation are my key focus areas as well as ongoing learning and development for myself and my team.
In recent years we have designed and built our own bespoke collections suite which is going from strength to strength; removing admin burden from the team allowing them to focus on core collections and customer service.
Its not all about work though, Badminton and Cycling are my favourite past times. We all need a release from the grind of every day life.
Michelle qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2005 with Ernst & Young LLP, Manchester where she worked in the Audit Practice for six years. Michelle joined United Utilities PLC in 2008 and has been with the company for over 11 years. She has held a number of roles within the Finance Department before joining the Domestic Retail business area in 2014 and subsequently progressing to become the Financial Controller for Domestic Retail, joining the Senior Leadership team. During her early years supporting the Domestic Retail business area Michelle developed a keen interest in the Sales and Debt operation and this drove her desire to extend her credentials beyond Finance. Michelle became the Head of Income, Domestic Retail in May 2017 and in this role has become an industry expert. As Head of Income Michelle is responsible for the end to end household meter to cash process; household revenue and bad debt sit within her area of accountability. Michelle has been instrumental in the step change in performance of United Utilities’ Billing, Credit and Collections performance over the last few years and led her team to become the first and only water company to be achieve the CICMQ accreditation in February 2019.
Prior to retiring in June 2017 Liz was a Senior Partner at Big 4 firm EY. Liz held a number of important positions in the firm latterly as a member of the UK and Ireland Board as Managing Partner with responsibility for developing and delivering the firm’s highly successful strategy for employer brand, talent development and Diversity and Inclusion.
Liz is also 30+ year experienced commercial Restructuring professional having led the UK firm’s Restructuring business of £100m with 500 people through the global financial crisis. This required strong inclusive leadership skills in order to manage demand and resource through a period of exponential growth whilst also enhancing profit margins. Throughout her career, Liz has had prolific success in building client relationships and securing new restructuring projects as well as coaching teams and other Partners to be successful in winning new accounts, projects and relationships.
In 2013, Liz was elected by her industry peers to be President of R3 the Association of Business Recovery Professionals, representing the interests of restructuring firms large and small all over the UK.
In the last 5 years of her career at EY, Liz sat on the UK&I Board supporting Partners and staff across the firm in all aspects of the employee lifecycle and Partner admissions. Liz also enhanced the firm’s brand with clients and non-clients alike, helping them to achieve the best from their workforce and creating environments where it was possible for everyone to succeed regardless of background. This strategy not only enhanced EY’s reputation but also resulted in Liz being recognised by HM Queen with the honour of OBE for services to equality in the workplace.
In the period since retiring, Liz held the position of Interim CEO for the Insolvency Practitioners Association, a regulator for the profession. Following her success in this role, in March 2020, Liz was appointed as interim CEO of R3 – the trade body for restructuring professionals in the UK.
Sue is Chief Executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM), the largest recognised professional body in the world for the credit management community. Before taking up this role, Sue held the post of Director of Strategic Relationships with the CICM – working collaboratively with a number of organisations in the sector, increasing awareness and building partnerships.
With over 25 years’ experience in operational credit management across finance, utilities and public sector, Sue is passionate about good business practice, improving cash flow and raising the profile of this critical role within companies and government. She also sits on a number of industry and UK government-led bodies.
The Chartered Institute of Credit Management is advancing the profession by raising awareness, developing and promoting best practice and developing its members across all roles that sit within the credit management lifecycle. Providing ongoing support, qualifications and access to a wide range of resources. CICM was instrumental in developing and supporting the Prompt Payment Code for BEIS and continues to work closely with it.
I am the Sales & Debtors service manager within BAE Systems Shared Services and manage a team of 28 professionals across the end to end Accounts Receivable function. We recently achieved our CICMQ accreditation and this has demonstrated the great passion and drive we have for achieving best practice credit management. I am a qualified accountant with a background in various finance disciplines including project management and system implementation. I have a big appetite for change, process improvement and tackling challenges head on. I love nothing more than trying to “boil the ocean.” What seems unachievable to most is an ambition for my team and I.
Steve has worked in government debt management for 20 years, having started on the phones as a collector for HM Customs & Excise. He is responsible for setting the overall strategy for government debt and ensuring that wherever possible, it aligns with private sector best practice, makes best use of new technologies and is flexible in responding to the ever-changing socioeconomic environment.
Sean Feast FCICM MCIPR is a PR Professional and Journalist with more than 35 years’ experience across the defence, high-tech and financial services sectors. A founder and owner of Gravity Global, Sean specifically leads the Gravity PR team to deploy international and award-winning reactive and proactive campaigns, including challenging briefs in a range of different areas, from the dangers of pressure ulcers through to the lethality of air launched weapons systems. He retains a foothold in journalism, editing the monthly Credit Management magazine for the CICM. He is also a regular contributor to a broad range of consumer titles and author of more than 20 books on the RAF in the second world war.
Nigel is a Fellow of the Charted Institute of Credit Management and has a long career leading Order to Cash (O2C) processes and finance transformations. Most recently joining NBCUniversal following many years working for Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Nigel has excellent organizational acumen and his work objectives have always been simply to focus on using better processes, removing complexities, and accelerating value for the organizations' profitable growth. Nigel has been very focused on assisting businesses to successfully adopt digital innovations across their O2C processes that deliver various automation that improves working capital. He is also credited with making multi-million-pound recoveries from business insolvencies and is very knowledgeable on payment securities.
In a career spanning over 40 years, Philip has held senior credit management roles in the high-tech and communication sector and in distribution and retail, which included spells at Olivetti and Vodafone. He was appointed Director General of the ICM in 2005, and later Chief Executive. Philip was behind the Institute’s drive to become a Chartered body (becoming the CICM in 2015). He was appointed to the post of interim Small Business Commissioner in January 2020.
Philip is the author of the Managing Cashflow Guides for government, and the architect of the Prompt Payment Code which the CICM administered on behalf of the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) until it was transferred to the SBC’s office in March 2020. He has worked closely with successive governments in championing best-practice credit management and supporting small business.
In his time leading the CICM, Philip helped transform the Institute and elevate its profile, keeping professional credit managers in the minds of government and key influencers. He was a board member of the Start-Up Loans Company, the Red Tape Champion for Insolvency and the first ever lay Chair of the Joint Insolvency Committee.
Phil is a partner in law firm Clarke Willmott LLP and head of the firm’s Debt Recovery team. The team is one of the largest in the UK with a client base that includes government departments, local authorities, utility companies, insurance companies, commercial businesses and FCA regulated companies. Phil has over 20 years experience in the industry and is recognised as an expert in the field of debt recovery litigation. He specialises in volume, defended, high profile and complex debt litigation and insolvency actions.
American Express (AMEX) is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.
AMEX’s Business Payment Solutions provides businesses, of any size, an innovative way to access alternative sources of funding by helping companies improve their working capital and payment processes. As a traditional provider of corporate and purchasing card solutions, we’re now able to offer lending solutions for a wider range of B2B spending categories that are disrupting the marketplace by using unsecured credit lines and risk management.
Natalie’s career with American Express has resulted in a career path across a number of disciplines and geographies., including a move from Australia to London, where mentors and advocates, both inside and outside of the business continue to play a critical role in her success. 16 years on with Amex and now heading up the Strategic Sales Corporate business for Global Corporate Services focusing on executing the B2B supplier payments strategy.
Growing into Senior Leadership, Natalie draws on experiences and learning curves, mentorship, and ambition to support teams in a challenging, but ultimately fun and successful environment. Constantly inspired by people within the business, paving the way for the future generation of young leaders by smashing the “glass ceiling” and challenging conventional wisdom.
It’s this type of environment that allows Amex to develop our competitive and evolutionary payment solutions. Tailored for corporations turning over $50 million+, requiring alternatives to traditional financing.
Paula heads Shoosmiths’ national business to business debt recovery team, a 40 strong team across the UK (including Scotland and Northern Ireland). As a commercial litigator, Paula regularly advises creditor companies on their finance and business disputes, and is accustomed to handling disputes around guarantees and indemnities, complex asset recoveries, breach of warranty and fraud claims. Paula sits on the CICM’s Technical committee, and has written and presented for CICM members through the magazine, and at various events and webinars.
Karen is a Director and recruiting expert at Hays Accountancy & Finance. She provides strategic leadership to a team of over 250 accountancy and finance recruitment professionals across over 90 UK offices, including a team of dedicated credit management recruitment experts. With 24 years of finance recruitment experience, Karen has a track record of recruiting top finance talent for businesses across a range of industry sectors, and is a trusted industry voice on recruitment, career planning and market insights.