EY’s new South West managing partner has ambitions to further build brand in region

January 21, 2021

Karen Kirkwood has been appointed as global accountancy group EY’s new managing partner for the South West and Wales as it continues its growth in the region.

Karen, pictured, takes over from Andrew Perkins, who has successfully completed a four-year tenure in the role. He is staying in Bristol as EY’s regional corporate finance partner. 

Karen joined EY in 2014 as South West and Wales head of tax, based in its Bristol office, to lead growth in the tax team.

She has more than 25 years’ experience providing a broad range of tax services to a diverse portfolio of clients, including mid-market, listed and privately owned businesses in London, the South West and Wales.

In her new role, she inherits a successful and growing full-service team, which recent years has been boosted by the addition of specialists in turnaround and recovery and mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

As well as continuing to lead the growth of the business in the region, Karen takes on responsibility for people, brand and client activities, including a focus on building links with the local community and key private and public sector stakeholders across the region.

She will also continue to lead the growth of its tax practice in the South West and Wales. 

In the past few years, EY has increased its headcount in the region by more than 20% to 400-plus across a variety of areas.

Last year, it also took on 41 new graduates and apprentices – an increase of 5% on 2019 – which it said represented a significant commitment to supporting the career aspirations of region’s young people.

Karen said: “I’m really excited to be taking over as office managing partner for EY’s Bristol office.

“I’d like to thank Andrew for his incredible work leading the team over the last four years. He’s done a fantastic job in building resources here in the South West and Wales and developing key relationships with businesses across the region.”

She said she was inheriting a highly skilled and agile team that remained committed to building a better working world with client centricity at the very heart of everything it did.

“We have ambitions to further build our brand within the local market,” she added. 

“Together with a focus on the private market space, where we already work with a range of innovative, well-respected businesses, headquartered in the region, our focus will be on continuing to support the region’s exceptional SME base to explore the new markets.

“There are also opportunities for us to leverage and expand across sectors including in the energy, manufacturing, fintech and logistics industries.”

Andrew Perkins, pictured, said: “I’m really pleased to be passing on the baton to Karen and proud of the team here at EY in the South West and of our achievements over the last few years.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to play an important part in our growth ambitions, supporting Karen during her transitional period and, in the medium to longer term, focusing on developing more opportunities for the business across the market in my role as a corporate finance partner with a focus on environmental finance.”



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