Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Meet the team

With over two decades of experience between them, our team have their own areas of expertise, niche markets and geographical areas. What they all share is a professional, proactive and consultative approach that has earned our reputation for quality.

We provide an informed, high-quality service, keeping fully up to date with the initiatives and developments that impact on our customers. We have the added advantage of being able to draw on the knowledge and expertise of our colleagues across the CIPFA community.

Philippa Watkins, Associate Director, Local Government

Philippa is the associate director at CIPFA-Penna working across the public sector with a particular focus on local government. With over 20 years of recruitment expertise in public sector finance, she has a wealth of experience in recruiting for professional and often complex finance roles both interim and permanent. In leading the CIPFA Penna Practice, Philippa is passionate about the role that finance professionals play in delivering services to local government.

Tel: +44 (0)7710 098510
Email: philippa.watkins@penna.com


Jonathon Sheppard, Senior Consultant

Jonathon Sheppard

Jonathon joined CIPFA-Penna in 2018, offering expertise, advice and guidance to candidates and clients in the interim market. He started his recruitment career in 2006, spending 12 years focussing on the permanent market assisting finance professionals with their next career move and partnering with a broad span of businesses to help them secure the most relevant talent for their finance teams. He will now be focussing on building CIPFA-Penna's Midlands operation, presence and reputation.

Tel: +44 (0)7739 985 330
Email: jonathon.sheppard@penna.com


Mizan Rouf, Senior Consultant

Mizan Rouf

Mizan has worked in recruitment for almost two years. Prior to joining the CIPFA-Penna team he worked in executive search and selection, delivering successful appointments for clients recruiting at senior and board level. Before his career in recruitment, Mizan spent 15 years working in local government across the North East and South Yorkshire within regeneration, inward investment and economic development roles.

Tel: +44 (0)7395 855007
Email: mizan.rouf@penna.com


Catherine Bush, Senior Associate Consultant, Local Government

Catherine Bush

Catherine has over 14 years of experience working in recruitment at Penna and has a proven track record of exceeding performance expectations while always remaining client and candidate focused and continually providing excellent customer service. She is now in her fourth year working as a senior associate consultant in the CIPFA-Penna team developing a strong network and recruiting senior level finance professionals into the public sector with a particular focus on local government finance.

Tel: +44 (0)7803 510 898
Email: catherine.bush@penna.com


Ruth Lane, Consultant

Ruth Lane

Ruth has been working in the recruitment industry for nearly ten years, starting in compliance and then moving to become a finance recruitment consultant with Badenoch and Clark. She then moved to Penna over five years ago, working with housing associations and local authorities on senior level interim recruitment. She joined CIPFA-Penna in February 2020. She now supports local authorities and the wider public sector in placing senior level qualified finance interims into hard to fill roles or just to keep things going whilst the client finds the right permanent candidate. She believes that building relationships with clients and interims is vital to ensure the right interim is with the right client.

Tel: +44(0) 7702 859 428
Email: ruth.lane@penna.com


Az Ahmed, Consultant (Public Sector Executive Search)

Afzar Ahmed

Az Ahmed is an Executive Search Consultant. He has 16 years of experience working in the recruitment industry and has worked in many areas, from operations and finance through to interim and permanent recruitment. As an interim consultant in the CIPFA-Penna team he focused on building relationships with senior finance professionals, from directors of finance through to management accountants, and placing interims in local authorities.

Today as a consultant in executive search he continues to focus on finance while supporting on other local government service areas. Az will provide professional advice on attraction strategies, market intelligence and best practice on how to conduct an end to end recruitment campaign.

Tel: +44(0) 7717 810 481
Email: az.ahmed@penna.com


What they say about CIPFA-Penna

"CIPFA Penna Team Philippa Watkins and Anthony Lewis recently recruited me to the Service Head Finance and Procurement at Tower Hamlets Council. The process was rigorous and I was kept fully informed by Philippa and Anthony about progress through the process and what I should expect at each stage. They also worked hard to fit the various components around my busy work schedule. Once I knew I had been successful they liaised with Tower Hamlets to progress the various administrative requirements promptly. I've now started and had several calls to see how things are going. I would highly recommend their services from both a recruiting and candidate perspective."
Neville Murton, Service Head of Finance, Tower Hamlets