Tax Relief

New CEO of ForrestBrown because the R&D tax break sector prepares to shake up the market

Sara Brigden

ForrestBrown, the UK’s leading R&D tax relief consultancy, has announced that it is making three changes to its senior management team as the sector prepares for a shakeout.

Sara Brigden will be the new Managing Director of ForrestBrown with immediate effect. Sara takes over from founder Simon Brown, who is now chairman of the company. Simon is joined by Lisa-Marie Smith as the new Vice-Chair of ForrestBrown.

As Managing Director, Sara will lead the business, operations and increase performance to execute the agreed strategy through 2024 and beyond. Commenting on her new role, Sara said, “It is a great honor to be able to move the business forward at a time when there is real change in the industry. ForrestBrown’s new leadership structure is in line with changing market conditions for the broader R&D tax landscape. So I’m looking forward to taking the lead, as we’re not only steering HMRC’s new approach to tax relief for research and development, but also continuing to advocate a very much needed level of increased professionalism in the industry. I think it’s very powerful for ForrestBrown to be on the front lines. “

Sara joined ForrestBrown in 2016 as Marketing Manager and quickly rose to Head of Marketing before becoming a director on the executive team. Prior to joining ForrestBrown, Sara gained significant experience on both the client and agency side. This included a role at the World Economic Forum in Geneva, where she worked on their prestigious annual meeting in Davos-Klosters.

Meanwhile, Simon Brown becomes chairman of ForrestBrown. In his new role, Simon will take on an advisory role that will allow him to split his time between working closely with ForrestBrown’s U.S. parent company, alliantgroup, leading the management team and building new external relationships with key influencers and customers.

Simon founded ForrestBrown in 2013 after recognizing an acute need for innovative companies to provide targeted R&D tax credit advice. For the past eight years, Simon and his team of more than 130 people have worked tirelessly to realize his vision of providing the industry with unmatched technical expertise while helping innovative companies grow. During that time, ForrestBrown was an unrivaled success that completely changed its market, backing thousands of UK businesses and raising over £ 500m to allow them to move forward.

Co-founder Lisa-Marie Smith has also been named vice chairman of the company. Lisa-Marie, who is both a tax advisor and a specialist lawyer, was previously a director in the management team and most recently headed the company’s R&D tax credit practice. Lisa won Taxation’s Rising Star Award in 2017.

In her role as Vice Chairwoman, Lisa will continue to work alongside Simon while supporting Sara and the management team in shaping ForrestBrown’s future and continued growth.

Commenting on the changes in the business, Simon said: “I am very proud of the strong foundation we have built over the past eight years and have really enjoyed being part of the alliantgroup family for the past three years, but now is it is time for change to make sure we keep moving forward. With strong references and an appetite for success, Sara is the natural successor to help the company move forward as we seek to harness fresh energy and ideas to grow the business. “

Lisa added, “As our business continues to expand, we will now focus on consolidating ForrestBrown’s premier position as the UK’s leading research and development tax consultancy in the UK. Together with Simon and Sara, we will focus heavily on providing our customers with unmatched expertise and advice so that they can grow and innovate. “

ForrestBrown now employs over 120 people with offices in Bristol and London. The consulting firm is currently recruiting an additional ten people to fill new positions in its client-facing teams, including tax, sector specialist and business development roles.

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