On the rise in Newcastle

The performance of EY’s 600-strong* North East practice was in line with the UK firm’s market-leading growth during FY17. In February, EY expanded its office space in Newcastle, taking an additional 22,950 sq ft and giving a total 65,068 sq ft footprint across two buildings in the CityGate development on St James Boulevard.

The new office has been fitted out to create a space that encourages collaboration and interaction, using the latest technologies to connect with each other - part of EY’s workplace of the future programme, called EY@Work, As well as high-spec technology, features include a games room with table tennis table. 

Each floor also has a dedicated breakout space which has been designed to encourage collaboration. The firm’s Managed Services Delivery Centre in Newcastle has continued to create local employment opportunities and harness technology to improve client processes.

The 250-strong Managed Services team is part of the financial services practice, which is the largest in the North East. Since the year end in June, numbers have swelled from 560 to more than 600 and the new office marks a key stepping stone for EY’s continued growth in the region, giving space to grow by a further 300 over the next three years Business growth has enabled EY to invest in its people and during the period to the end of June the firm made two director promotions (David Baggaley, Neil Burn). 

In December it also brought in Maree-Louise Kernick as an Associate Partner in the IT Risk and Assurance team and appointed two new partners - Saskia Hawkins is European Leader for Financial Services Accounting Compliance & Reporting, while Richard Clough joined the Newcastle office as a Partner in the Financial Services Tax team. Sandra Thompson became Newcastle’s new Senior Partner immediately after the year end on July 1. Sandra, who is also an Audit Partner, is originally from Northumberland and trained and qualified in Newcastle, before moving to Scotland and, more recently, London. Sandra Thompson, North East Senior Partner at EY, said: “It has been an exciting few months since I fully took over the reins in July and I feel that the EY Newcastle team has already achieved so much.

“We are seeing opportunities from a wide range of businesses across the North East and further afield, from entrepreneurial tech start-ups, which are flourishing in the North East, to our traditional manufacturing businesses and large publicly quoted multinationals. We are continuing to invest in innovative solutions to service our clients as well as our Centres of Excellence in Managed Services and Data Analytics. “Newcastle is already a major financial services hub for EY and we are committed to investing in talent in the region. We hope that the city as a whole will benefit from the jobs we create.” Sandra volunteers once a week at charity The People’s Kitchen, which provides food and support to homeless and vulnerable people in Newcastle, and is passionate about ensuring the EY brand is embedded in the local community. Sandra said: “That means getting involved with community and education groups, using our vast knowledge and resource to help develop the pool of talent across this region. This not only ensures our own pipeline of talent but also that we are leading in the marketplace. “I’m particularly proud of our Business Apprenticeship programme, which offers young people an alternative to university, and the investment we are making in our people and the talent line we are nurturing, both in the North East and nationally.” 

In September 2017, the North East practice took on nine graduates and welcomed eight apprentices to EY’s Business Apprenticeship programme. Since the year end, EY has also appointed two further Partners across the North - Hilary Heap who works across the region’s Transactions Advisory Services team focusing on valuation & business modelling, and Mark Clephan who will continue to lead on mergers and acquisitions.

Last week, EY announced that it had made 22 senior promotions across its Newcastle offices in October alone, across its tax, audit and managed services teams.