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Executive team

With the drive and experience to deliver success, our executive team leads Optionis from the front. It’s the team’s unique set of skills that sets Optionis apart.

Derek Kelly - CEO
Derek Kelly CEO
Derek joined Optionis in 2008 following 15 years at KPMG. Whilst at KPMG Derek specialised in Employment Taxes, leading KPMG’s northern and south west practices. Derek has spent his career providing no-nonsense advice to employment outsourcing specialists, employment agencies and blue chip corporates. In his free time Derek can either be found sailing his boat “Noah’s Ark” on lake Windermere or walking his dog Minnie; but is never far from his iPad.
Jeremy Newman - Chairman
Jeremy Newman Chairman
Jeremy was the initial chairman of Arkarius when it was formed in 2014 and became chairman of the enlarged Optionis group when it merged with Arkarius in December 2016. He spent over 30 years in the accounting profession latterly as Managing Partner of BDO’s UK firm and then Global Chief Executive of BDO. He currently has a number of chair and non-executive roles in the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. Jeremy enjoys theatre and opera and spending time with his wife and family.
Ifti Ahmed - Group Operations Director (ClearSky, Brian Alfred & Parasol)
Ifti Ahmed Group Operations Director, North
Ifti Ahmed joined Optionis in January 2014 after spending 12 years at outsourcing giant Capita, where he played a key role in the delivery of several central and local government contracts. During his time at Capita he occupied senior roles including managing director (BPO) at Capita Insurance Services and, more recently, operations director with responsibility for the Capita Secure Border Services partnership with the Home Office. A self-confessed football fanatic, Ifti is a Manchester City FC season ticket holder and coaches his local under-12s football team.
Kevin Budge - Chief Finance Officer
Kevin Budge Chief Finance Officer
Kevin joined Optionis in September 2014 and has a Joint Honours degree in Economics and Econometrics from Nottingham University and then qualified as Chartered Accountant (now FCA) in 1987 with Robson Rhodes. After a 2 year stint in Corporate Finance within the profession, Kevin has been an FD/CFO for over 27 years. He has specialised in fast growing entrepreneurial business with a ‘Buy & Build’ strategy backed by Private Equity covering a number of different industries (transport, financial services, technology and support services). In his free time, Kevin enjoys keeping fit and travelling to sample fine wines and watch England play rugby.
Jennifer Hodson - Group HR Director
Jennifer Hodson Group HR Director
Jennifer started her career in HR over 15 years ago and has spent most of this time in Financial Services and IT Software businesses. Jennifer joined the Arkarius Group (SJD/Nixon Williams) in 2014 and became the Group HR Director before joining the Optionis Group. Jennifer is a qualified Business Psychologist and is a Fellow member of the CIPD and enjoys using her knowledge to create highly engaged and productive work environments. In her spare time Jennifer loves being outdoors and enjoys travelling to different countries and experiencing diverse cultures.
Nick Rawlings - Group Commercial Director
Nick Rawlings Group Commercial Director
Nick has over 20 years commercial and marketing experiences in customer service based businesses, principally in telecommunications where he has performed senior leadership roles at Virgin Media, BT and Plusnet. Nick joined the Arkarius Group (SJD/Nixon Williams) in 2015 as Group Commercial Director, before taking this role across the whole of the Optionis Group. Nick brings particular experience of successful business and brand transformation, having helped deliver the launch of Virgin Media in to the UK telecoms market, and led the brand re-launch of Plusnet, which went on to more than double its customer base. Spare time is a rarity for Nick with 3 young children, but when the opportunity knocks he likes to get into the great outdoors to run and mountain bike. He also likes foreign travel and photography.
James Davies - CIO
James Davies CIO
James has over 15 years’ technology experience with senior IT roles in brands such as FitFlop, TaylorMade Adidas Golf, AIT and IBM. His background has been working on delivering technology enabled business programs to drive revenue and business growth across a range of digital and technology environments. Outside of work James is kept busy with his family including two daughters and is a keen CrossFitter. Originally from South Wales, that means a mandatory allegiance to welsh rugby when TV schedules and family allow.