MHA Carpenter Box started 2017 as it means to go on with a new senior appointment to help it continue its impressive path to growth. The fi rm has a headcount of 140 employees spread across two offices in Worthing and Gatwick and is enjoying a strong progress in client numbers, profile and reputation.

The firm’s latest appointment signposts the firm’s direction of travel with Ivan Fowlie joining as Financial Director. In this article, MHA Carpenter Box Partner ChrisCoopey provides further detail behind the appointment and we hear Ivan’s views on Brexit, from a European perspective.

Ivan has swapped a high-profile finance role in Germany to take up this senior appointment at MHA Carpenter Box, moving from information and communications company Ericsson where, as Head of Business Finance for Western & Central Europe, he was responsible for 17 countries. He had been with the Swedish communications giant for 20 years, initially in Guildford, before moving to Dusseldorf.

Ivan was, in fact, living in Germany at the time of the Brexit referendum, so it is interesting to hear what he has to say about the result from a European point of view:

“The expectation from amongst my friends and colleagues in Dusseldorf, prior to the vote, was that the United Kingdom would stay in. Of course this mirrored sentiment in the UK media, and I think it also mirrored what most of us thought during the fierce pre-referendum debate and campaigning.

During the run-up there was much support for the UK to stay in. In fact Der Spiegel, the German weekly news magazine published a 24 page pull-out special entitled ‘Please don’t go’. With a weekly circulation of 840,000, the magazine is one of Europe’s largest publications so the Brexit vote was certainly on everyone’s mind.

“After the vote the reaction from my friends and colleagues in Germany was shock. They were not expecting the outcome. This, however, was soon replaced by sorrow, not for Germany, but much more for the UK. They genuinely think this will be bad for the UK. I think it’s fair to say that on mainland Europe, they are much more in tune with the concept of the EU, and they do worry that a major partner leaving will have a detrimental effect across many of the political and economic areas the EU gets involved in.

“It was also apparent that the outcome resulted in an increasing sense of worry, from some of my friends and colleagues about the shift in politics in Europe at the moment. The increased popularity of right wing parties does not sit easily with the mainstream; in Germany, the right wing party ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD) now has about 10% popularity, add this to France’s Marine Le Pen who has about 25% support in their upcoming presidential race and a worrying pattern can be seen. The election in the U.S of Donald Trump has also served to de-stabilise the system.

“Time will tell whether these concerns will materialise and what impact they will have, and how they will change the face of Europe which, in large part because of the EU, has benefited from a period of stability since the mid-20th century. Let’s hope that we will see some stability return to the system over the coming year.”

Ivan’s new role

Ivan will oversee MHA Carpenter Box’s financial performance and statutory reporting, utilising his considerable experience to help the firm to continue on its enviable growth curve. Part of Ivan’s role will be to develop business process improvements, to streamline reporting and look at ways to further enhance the client experience.

Ivan explains: “After 20 years with one company, I wanted a complete change and from the moment I met with the partners at MHA Carpenter Box, I was excited by their straightforward approach to business and their focus on client service in a world where so much is changing. I am now very much looking forward to playing my part in the firm’s future development.”

Alan Edwards, Managing Partner at the firm, also commented: “We are delighted to welcome Ivan to the partnership team at MHA Carpenter Box. He brings significant financial and corporate expertise with him and will undoubtedly be a real asset to the firm.”

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