Keely Woodley leads Grant Thornton's Corporate Finance Advisory arm

12 November 2020 3 min. read

Grant Thornton has installed Keely Woodley to lead its corporate finance advisory business. Having spent more than 15 years with Grant Thornton, Woodley becomes the first female leader of the practice.

In her new role, Woodley will focus on expanding the 100 strong sector focused M&A team and building on the firm’s presence in the UK and internationally.

Commenting on her appointment, Woodley said, “Our team is made up of dynamic and experienced professionals and I’m excited by the challenge and opportunity ahead, as we look to build on the strong presence we have already established across the UK.”

Woodley joined Grant Thornton’s corporate finance team in 2005, arriving in the M&A practice from 3i Group. As a partner at the consultancy, she most recently led Grant Thornton’s human capital and business support services M&A practice in London. Over her career, she has developed a particular focus on the recruitment, education and skills sectors and specialises in advising private equity, large corporates and founder led businesses in these areas.

Keely Woodley leads Grant Thornton's Corporate Finance Advisory arm

The Grant Thornton Corporate Finance team combines deep sector knowledge and expertise, with strong regional and local networks across the country, and also boasts a strong international offering.

Woodley becomes the first women to lead the Corporate Finance practice for the firm, demonstrating Grant Thornton's growing focus on diversity.

On the importance of diversity for business, she said, “I’m passionate about supporting the diverse talent that we have in our business. It’s so important that the diversity and backgrounds of the people in our firm reflect the clients that we work with, and that we’re able to provide the right support for any business, wherever they may be on their journey.”

Woodley's appointment follows a number of other promotions in the team, including Victoria Giles, Samantha Harrison, Adam Bunch and Andrew Frame – they all were promoted to Director this year. 

Rebounding M&A market

During the Covid-19 pandemic, valuations across the economy were particularly hard hit, with many sectors being exposed to the pandemic – especially those of a service-based nature such as consulting, with its reliance on onsite meetings and delivery.

However, the M&A economy has proven resilient, and many valuations are now well on the road to recovery. According to Woodley, firms like Grant Thornton will be key for the UK’s M&A market as it looks to bounce back in 2021.

She explained, “The economic impact of Covid-19 has been felt across the market this year, as M&A activity unsurprisingly slowed. But we have seen momentum return as businesses begin to look for the opportunities that M&A can provide, to those in need of support, those looking to scale-up and grow and those looking to exit.”

With its multifaceted offering, Grant Thornton can support deals from strategy through to execution. “As part of a much broader Deals and Business Consulting business, we can unlock additional value for our clients as they embark on their plans, without the complications of dealing with multiple advisors.”