Since 2002, Charles has been a partner at Saffery Champness, a top twenty accounting and financial advisory firm, and head of its Corporate Finance group. The group focuses on transactions in the SME space, generally up to £50m in deal size and across a range of sectors. In 2009 the firm won the ACQ Global UK Corporate Finance House of the Year award.
Following a BSc (Econ.) at University College London, Charles continued his studies with an MSc at Cranfield Institute of Technology (now Cranfield University).
After a year with Associated British Ports he joined Coopers and Lybrand as an accountancy student in the management consulting arm of the firm, qualifying as an ACA in 1987. During his time with Coopers and Lybrand Associates Charles worked on a number of UN funded projects in Africa, in particular the refinancing of the Akosombo Dam and hydro project in Ghana and two major UNDP agricultural projects, also in Ghana. In 1988/9 he spent a year with Coopers and Lybrand in Swaziland advising primarily on various projects associated with the formation and development of the SME business sector in the country, including the reorganisation of Swazibank, the state bank.
On his return to the UK, Charles worked on a number of the major UK privatisations including Powergen and the North of Scotland Hydro Board. He spent a year on secondment to the BBC, working as part of the advisory team at BBC Network Radio on Producer Choice, the introduction by John Burt, the Director-General, of a more market oriented approach to programme production and broadcasting. He also advised, along with lawyers Denton Hall, on the drafting of a new Media Bill and Freedom of Information Bill for Zambia.
Charles left Coopers and Lybrand in 1993 to join the Corporate Finance Department at Hambros Bank and led the Media Team where clients included Carlton Communications, The Mirror Group, Abbott Mead Vickers and GWR Radio. He worked on a number of assignments including GWR’s acquisition of Prospect Radio in New Zealand and the Carlton/Mirror joint bid to acquire the broadcasting rights to Premier League football in 1996.
In 1997, Charles joined Arthur Andersen and became a partner in 1999. He headed up the Corporate Finance Media team in London for three years and amongst the transactions he advised on was the successful £75m white knight counter bid for Lopex Plc by Havas Advertising in 2000, following a hostile bid for Lopex by Incepta. Charles moved to New York in 2000 as part of the strategic development of corporate finance globally by Andersens and advised on a number of transactions there until his return to the UK in 2002.
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