Born and educated in the south west of England, Helen Brewer graduated from Southampton University with a degree in Geography and French. She moved up to London and worked for almost five years with the accountancy and consulting firm KPMG, qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in 1989. Soon afterwards, she joined a firm of Chartered Surveyors based in the City of London as European financial and management accountant. Looking for an opportunity to work in (mainland) Europe, she moved to Brussels in 1993 and spent five years at the European financial headquarters of an American medical device company. Ready for a change of environment, and following the birth of her daughter Claudia, Ms Brewer joined ICG in June 1999 as the Group's Director of Finance and Administration.