People: Smith & Williamson appoints regional managing partner; Executive search firm makes senior hire; and more

Stephen Drew, partner and head of international services at Smith & Williamson, is joining the Birmingham office next month as professional services regional managing partner.

Drew has been with the accountancy, investment management and tax group for 20 years, advising on internationally active businesses with significant operations outside the UK and those looking at setting up here.

He has an audit background and specialises in financial due diligence and reporting accountancy work. Stephen is also a member of the firm’s Scale Up leadership team and a committee member at the Scale Up Institute.

He brings with him a wealth of client experience, and aims to build an audit presence at Smith & Williamson’s offices in Colmore Row, building transactional and professional service capabilities.

He will continue leading international growth plans for the firm.

Drew said: “I am excited for this chance to manage an office of fantastic and talented people. I will be bringing a core corporate offering to the Birmingham office, so that we can offer the full range of services to Midlands-based clients and contacts.

“This is a really exciting opportunity for growth, both for us, and for the businesses in Birmingham we will be working with. My work within the Scale Up community provides an insight into what growing businesses are doing, both domestically and internationally.”

Matt Watts

Smith & Williamson is investing in the Birmingham office through a series of senior staff hires.

On May 1, Matt Watts will also be joining the Birmingham office from London as head of Birmingham business tax services (BTS).

Watts is a tax specialist with experience advising on international group structures and tax aspects of acquisitions and disposals, and has also helped many of his clients make successful R&D tax credit claims.



Lee Mason, who previously led the IT executive/leadership specialism for Michael Page, has been appointed as head of practice – IT & digital at Holmes Noble, the executive search and interim management firm.

His remit is to drive company growth across all key sectors and specialises in recruiting IT, digital transformation and technology leadership roles.

Having worked in the banking sector for HSBC before moving into recruitment in 1999, he has a track record of supporting the career advancement of senior technology executives.

Michelle Carson-Williams, chief executive of Holmes Noble, said: “I am delighted that Lee has joined us to head up our IT and digital offering. Lee brings a wealth of experience in the IT industry and will help us in our growth and expansion of consultancy services, advancement into new markets and increasing our international footprint.”


Lloyds Bank’s real estate and housing division has appointed James Tudge to associate director in its Midlands team.

Tudge previously spent 12 years as a relationship manager within the SME and mid-corporates division and also has experience working within the bank’s Lex Autolease business.

As part of his new role within the large corporates division, he will support existing commercial real estate and housing clients across the Midlands with property assets in excess of £25m, as well as expanding Lloyds Bank’s exposure in the region.

He will also play a key role in helping the bank roll out its £2bn Clean Growth Finance scheme, which is designed to help commercial banking clients transition towards supporting a more sustainable economy. This includes providing discounted finance for firms investing to improve the sustainability and energy performance of property assets or new developments.

Allan MacKenzie, managing director for real estate and housing UK regions at Lloyds Bank, said: “James has a strong level of experience and knowledge – both of the Midlands market and the firms driving it – that will make him an invaluable addition to the recently enlarged Real Estate and Housing team.

“He offers a unique set of skills and knowhow that will enable us to continue to play a major role in supporting the ambitions and growth strategies of housing and property companies across the Midlands.”