Planning Your Career Journey with Adrian Barsanti, Jennifer McVey and Ranald Brown: Part 2

In August Rutherford Cross hosted its latest Planning Your Career Journey event online. We were pleased to welcome Adrian Barsanti, Head of Audit – IT, Change & Data at TSB Bank, Jennifer McVey, Group Head of Internal Audit at Baxters Food Group and Ranald Brown, Director of Assurance at Wheatley Housing Group.

Each of our speakers shared their own career journeys with our audience and highlighted the approaches that had allowed them to progress to the roles they hold today.  Here is what our second speaker had to say:

Jennifer McVey, Group Head of Internal Audit at Baxters Food Group


Jennifer attended High School in the US, is a keen musician – playing the trombone in various bands, loves rollercoasters, and has taken full advantage of the travel opportunities which have emerged throughout her career in Internal Audit.

Earlier Career

Jennifer joined Big 4 Accounting firm KPMG, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, taking the traditional route in the early stages.  From there, her first move into industry was with Shell, where she worked with large documents and managed controls and processes but it was William Grant & Sons where she discovered her passion for both Internal Audit and the drinks / FMCG sectors.  She joined a small team in Internal Audit, and then spent a year seconded to the business in the US doing accounting and tax.  Jennifer believes this time gave her some real insight into internal audit from the other side and she urges internal auditors to take opportunties which allow this crucial undertsanding to develop.  Commercial skills and business understanding are so key to running a succesful IA function.

First Head of Internal Audit Role

After five years at William Grant & Sons, Jennifer decided she was ready for a new challenge. Having been advised she was too junior for a job she was applying to at Distell, Jennifer proved her recruiter wrong and was offered a Head of Internal Audit job.  There she used her expertise within the drinks sector, and applied her Internal Audit skills to develop and embed the Internal Audit function in Distell’s international regions.  This experience taught her the importance of going after what you want – no matter what people say!

Since Distell…

Jennifer has operated at Head of Internal Audit level at SMS, an energy services and smart metering company, C&C Group (manufacturer of drinks including Tennent’s Lager, Bulmers and Magners Cider) and two months ago, she took on the challenge to build an Internal Audit function for Baxters Food Group, a family run business that operates as a plc.  The culture feels right and she is very excited about the challenge.

Jennifer’s Top Tips:

  • Relationships are key, make sure you nurture them
  • Effective communication is very important – always be clear and concise in your delivery
  • Integrity: Stand by what you say – you need to own your advice / recommendations
  • Be curious – a good auditor should follow up every question with another five
  • Empathy – understand where the business is coming from. Their objectives are important and you are working together not against each other.

Lastly, remember…

  • Internal audit is not just about finance. Jennifer has been involved in the following:
  • Fraud investigations
  • Police inquiries
  • Due Diligence
  • External Lawyers
  • Ethical reviews
  • Training


  • Internal Audit offers exceptional opportunities for travel – no limits!


To find out more about Rutherford Cross events, or to discuss your internal audit recruitment needs, please contact [email protected].