EY appoints Simon O’Neill as Managing Partner for Midlands

01 September 2017 Consultancy.uk 3 min. read
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EY has appointed firm vereran Simon O’Neill to the post of Managing Partner for its Midlands regional business. The region, which is one of the UK's manufacturing hubs for manufacturing exports, faces various uncertainties and opportunities arising from Brexit.

The East and West Midlands generate around 12.5% of the UK’s GVA, with large stakes in both the manufacturing and services sector. The region hosts a large array of large global UK and international firms, with a high level of manufacturing, particularly automotive, with export destinations. Automotive firms in the region remain in a period of uncertainty, largely brought on by Brexit. Between 2016 and 2017, the East Midlands saw a large increase in output over the past year of 31%, while orders and investment were up 22% and 12% respectively. The West Midlands saw the biggest increases, clocking a 31% rise in output, a 25% increase in orders and a 19% increase in employment, suggesting at the current juncture, the Brexit process has not hit the regional market in a major way.

As EY works to accommodate the changing needs of clients in the region, which may still encounter major hurdles over the coming years due to the UK’s divorce from the EU, the firm announced the promotion promoted firm veteran Simon O’Neill to the role of Managing Partner at the firm, he succeeds Sara Fowler who has been with the firm for more than 27 years. O’Neill was appointed Partner at the firm in 2006, and in the 11 years since, he has overseen the Assurance business as well as more recently, the UK&I wide finance and operations at EY. He previously held various roles of increasing seniority at the professional services firm, starting out at the firm following his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics and Accounting from the University of Southampton, in 1996.

Simon O’Neill - EY

Now, O’Neill has taken on the role of Managing Partner for the Midlands region, which includes leadership of the firm’s more than 900 people at its office in Birmingham. Commenting on the promotion, Debbie O’Hanlon, National Markets Leader at EY, said, “[Simon O’Neill] brings extensive knowledge of the local market and the experience and determination to help the region grow and succeed. I’m excited about EY’s expansion ambitions across the region under Simon's leadership.”

O’Neill meanwhile commented that the current environment around Brexit is creating both opportunities and risks for the region’s businesses, which includes both trade with the EU and wider afield for the West. He said, “Looking ahead, I expect the pace of change to accelerate in the coming years as the rise of digital continues to impact how all businesses operate. I will therefore be focused on ensuring we have the strongest possible team in place, with further senior promotes and hires as we continue to increase the diversity of our team.”

Reflecting on her 27 year spell at EY, Sara Fowler said, “It has been a privilege to lead EY’s Midlands practice over the past seven years and a pleasure to work with our great clients and the fantastic business community here. Simon’s leadership will build on this and I look forward to seeing him bring his own dynamic style to the role. For me personally, I’ll be continuing in my role as a partner in EY’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services (FIDS) practice.”