Air Partner appoints interim finance boss after accounting failure

22 May 2018 Consultancy.uk

Following the resignation of former CFO Neil Morris, after an accounting error in the region of £4 million, professional services firm Air Partner has been searching for a replacement. While the hunt continues, the firm has appointed former Gatwick Airport Finance leader Chris Mann to the role on an interim basis.

The global aviation industry is in a period of extreme flux in 2018. New levels of demand mean airlines are planning to add more than 10,000 planes to the collective fleet by 2027, while the industry comes under pressure to electrify its machinery to improve environmental impacts. On top of all of this, meanwhile, increased competition has recently seen a succession of international airlines liquidated or restructured.

Amid this chaotic environment, consultancies have been preparing for a glut of work in the industry – be it as administrators, digital transformation advisors, or operational consultants, among other service lines – with a number of firms utilising merger and acquisition activities to grow their capabilities before this apparent spike in demand. One such group was Air Partner, which purchased UK-based environmental and air traffic control specialist SafeSkys in October 2017. While the addition of SafeSkys gave Air Partner access to a client base worth revenue of £1.8 million in 2016, however, the purchaser’s broader business has seen a turbulent 2018.

Chris Mann, Interim CFO - Air Partner

In April, Air Partner, the operations of which are also known for flying some of the world's best-known celebrities and sports stars around the world – revealed "an issue relating to its accounting for receivables and deferred income." The firm subsequently appointed Big Four auditors PwC and Rosenblatt to conduct a review of its problems. While at the time, Air Partner estimated the error in its accounts was in the region of £3.3 million, it later suggested a more vague figure, venturing simply that the figure would not exceed £4 million.

According to Air Partner has said the review had made good progress, as the firm looks to get back on course – however it has also had to complete a change of management amid its diversion. Former Chief Financial Officer Neil Morris was forced to resign, following the revelation of the multi-million pounds stretching back over the prior seven years, a hunt which looks set to continue into the second half of 2018.

In the meantime, chartered accountant Chris Mann has been positioned as the firm’s new CFO on an interim basis, until a long-term replacement can be found. Mann will neither be a director of the company, nor will he sit as a member of its board.

Over a career spanning the best part of 25 years, Mann has worked in finance positions at senior level for a variety of companies. Most recently this has seen a four year stint as Finance Director at Kone Corporation, an international provider of elevators and lifts with a UK turnover of £250 million, a position he will return to following his interim role. Prior to this, Mann spent three years in Finance with major international aviation hub Gatwick Airport.

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Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of partners

18 April 2019 Consultancy.uk

Three senior level consultants have been boosted to the rank of Partner at Quantum Advisory, as the firm works to meet heightened levels of client demand. Aled Edwards, Amanda Burdge and Chris Heirene become Partners as long-time Quantum member Rob Davies retires in May after 15 years as a Partner at the firm.

Founded in 2000, Quantum Advisory provides pension and employee benefits services to employers, scheme trustees and members, with five offices across the UK. The firm has enjoyed exponential growth in recent years, following a number of major client wins and booming demand for its services. It opened a new office in Bristol in 2016 to service the South West and in 2017 relocated its Cardiff office to a larger site within the Welsh capital to house the increased workforce. More recently, Quantum relocated its Amersham, Birmingham and London offices to more spacious premises in the centre of both cities to cope with demand.

The financial services consultancy, which employs 115 people across the UK, has promoted three senior team members to Partner, as part of its wider growth plans. The firm has moved Aled Edwards from Principal Consultant & Actuary, while Amanda Burdge has ascended from Principal Investment Consultant. Chris Heirene, former IT Manager, has also joined the ten current Partners at Quantum.

Aled Edwards most recently managed the actuarial team within Quantum’s Cardiff office as well as providing technical training for all staff. He boasts more than 17 years of pensions experience. He started his career as an Actuary at Jardine Lloyd Thompson’s Bristol wing, before joining Quantum in 2011. Edwards is also the President of the Welsh Actuarial Society (WAS), which supports actuaries and actuarial students living or working in Wales.

Rapid growth sees Quantum Advisory promote trio of Partners

Amanda Burdge joined Quantum’s team in 2001, as one of the fledgling firm’s first employees. Most recently she was a Principal Investment Consultant with the firm, and with more than a quarter of a century’s experience in the sector, she is responsible for providing investment advice to many of Quantum’s key clients with both defined benefit and defined contribution schemes. Prior to her time with Quantum, Burdge spent two years as a consultant with SBJ Benefit Consultants (now Capita), and three years with Tesco Pension Trustees. She currently sits on the Regulation Committee for the Pensions Management Institute.

Chris Heirene initially worked with Quantum as an IT Consultant with Teamwork Technology Services and then UES for over five years, before finally joining the firm itself in 2011. He is now responsible for Quantum’s IT systems across all of its offices, including the network and core server infrastructure which supports the business. Heirene is heavily involved in utilising IT to improve and build upon the processes in place throughout Quantum.

David Deidun, Partner at Quantum Advisory, said of the promotions, “This is a very exciting time for Quantum. The recent round of promotions fully recognise the hard work and dedication shown by the three, all of whom go above and beyond for the company. I’ve no doubt that Aled, Amanda and Chris will settle into their new roles with ease and look forward to working together to grow Quantum even further.”

The news comes as Rob Davies retires in May, after spending fifteen years as a Partner at Quantum. A qualified actuary, Davies was instrumental in setting up Quantum’s Investment Division, specialising in aiding clients with their investment strategies. He will remain with the company on a part-time consultancy basis, while working with several clients in the Fiduciary Manager area.