Responding to COVID-19: insight, support and guidance

Meet the team

With over 20 years' experience, our team members have their own areas of expertise, niche markets and geographical areas. But they all share a professional, proactive and consultative approach that has earned us 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 20 years' recruitment expertise, 13 of those in public sector finance, Philippa has a wealth of experience in recruiting for professional and often complex finance roles both interim and permanent. Philippa joined CIPFA-Penna from Hudson where for four years she was responsible for their local government finance business. 

Prior to Hudson, Philippa was a key member of the CIPFA Recruitment Services team for over seven years and worked very closely with Gill Kelly.

D: +44 (0)20 3849 2703 | M: +44 (0)7710 098510

Jonathon Sheppard – Senior Consultant

Jonathon SheppardJonathon joins the CIPFA-Penna team with over 12 years’ experience of recruiting exclusively for finance professionals and accountants. Most recently supporting a FTSE-listed utilities business in strengthening its large finance team, Jonathon’s expertise lies chiefly in partnering businesses across a wide range of sectors as a service-focussed specialist finance recruiter – helping set up and establish three Midlands-based start-up recruitment firms in his career to-date. 

Jonathon has carried out numerous end-to-end contingent and retained campaigns, permanent and interim, at levels ranging from accounts assistant right through to finance director, and everything in between. His focus will be on interim opportunities for clients and candidates in the Midlands region.

D: +44 (0)7739 985330
E: +44 (0)121 788 7986   

Catherine Bush – Senior Associate Consultant, Local Government

Catherine BushCatherine has over 11 years' 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 has spent the last 18 months as part of the Executive HR Practice developing a strong network recruiting senior level interim managers across both the public and private sectors. Having now joined CIPFA-Penna as its associate consultant, Catherine will have a particular focus on local government finance.

D: +44 (0)20 3849 2620

Ruth Lane - Consultant

Ruth Lane

Ruth has been working in the recruitment industry for nearly 10 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.

Ruth 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.

T   +44(0) 121 788 7987 | M +44(0) 7702 859 428

Azfar Ahmed – Finance Lead – Sourcing

Afzar Ahmed

Az Ahmed is the Finance Lead for Sourcing.  As Finance Lead his main drive is to ensure the successful delivery of end to end recruitment solutions for permanent appointments from £35,000 to £65,000. This involves project managing all stages of the recruitment process as well as identifying suitable talent.  He has 15 years experience working in recruitment industry at Penna and has worked in many areas from operations to finance through to most recently within the CIPFA Penna interim team where he was a Consultant for 5 years.

D: +44 (0)20 3849 2616

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