People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn’t miss

Firms from across the Liverpool, Manchester and further afield have wasted no time recently in making a host of key hires, as lockdowns ease further and business confidence returns to the region. Businesses based all over the North West and in sectors from sport through to retail and finance have announced a flurry of appointments in the past fortnight. If you have got a new or recent appointment or promotion you'd like featured in our next roundup, please email [email protected]

Here, BusinessLive runs through the 47 North West appointments from the last few weeks that you shouldn't have missed:

Bolton Wanderers

Neil Hart, Bolton Wanderers CEO

The former chief executive of Burnley FC has taken up the same role at Bolton Wanderers. Neil Hart, who is originally from Rochdale, takes up the position immediately having left his role at the club's Premier League neighbours in March. He spent seven years at Turf Moor including a spell at the helm of the Clarets' community programme, Burnley FC in the Community.

Prior to his arrival in East Lancashire, he played a role in developing a community engagement programme at Watford FC over eight years. We're now on LinkedIn! Follow the BusinessLive North West page for the latest updates from across the region.


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Bank of England chief information officer Rob Elsey will join the Co-op in the newly-created role of chief technology officer.

Shirine Khoury-Haq - CFO and CEO Life Services at the Co-op - made the announcement last week, with Mr Elsey set to drive the group's digital and technology ambitions - a "key priority" for the Co-op. Elsey has previously worked with several global brands, including Vodafone, Cable and Wireless and most recently the Bank of England. He has also been previously listed in the top 50 UK CIOs and most influential technology leaders

He said: "The Co-op has always led with its values and is steeped in history. I'm proud to become a part of it. "This position comes at such an exciting time - both technology and digital products are bringing so much opportunity right now, there's real potential to develop what the Co-op does for members and customers, as part of delivering its vision."

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People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

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Northern Gritstone

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missThe Sackville Street Building in Manchester

Northern Gritstone, a new investment company founded by the universities of Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield, has announced the appointment of Lord Jim O'Neill as non-executive chairman and Duncan Johnson as chief executive. Lord O'Neill will assume key responsibilities helping to establish the exciting future for Northern Gritstone.

Mr Johnson joins Northern Gritstone from Caledonia Investments, the FTSE 250-listed investment trust, where he was head of Caledonia Private Capital for the past decade. Lord O'Neill said: "From the Industrial Revolution through to the early Digital Revolution, the North has helped to power our nation's history. "Gritstone's mission is to take this one step further and unlock the huge commercial opportunity of our science and technology capabilities."


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missJulia Lewis of EY

EY has appointed one equity partner and eight associate partners in the North West from within the firm.

Julia Lewis is a partner in the firm's consulting team in Manchester. She focuses on delivering large change programmes including finance transformation. She joined EY in 2019 and has 20 years of experience in global business services, including design, implementation and operation.

Nicola Bamford, Jon Spooner, Ben Robinson, Stephen Woodhouse, Colette Withey, Terry Seagreaves, Ehsan Ashraf and Mike Harvey have all been promoted to associate partner. Stephen Church, EY's north markets leader and office managing partner for Manchester, said: "Our continued significant investment in senior talent reflects not only EY's ambition in the North West but also our confidence in the long-term outlook for the regional economy. "Congratulations to Julia and to our eight new associate partners who have all worked exceptionally hard to achieve this career milestone.

"Their expertise and leadership will strengthen our footprint in the region and entry into the partnership recognises their outstanding contributions."

Grant Thornton UK LLP

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missGrant Thornton LLP Manchester tax team

Grant Thornton UK LLP has invested in its Northern tax team, announcing a trio of senior hires with a combined total of more than 50 years' experience, spanning specialisms that include corporate, private client, transfer pricing, and not-for-profit. Abigail Davies is a transfer pricing expert who joins as an associate director. She has more than two decades of experience gained predominantly through in-house roles within engineering, financial services, and consultancy.

Also joining the team as an associate director is private client specialist Chris Mitchell, who has 15 years' experience advising entrepreneurial clients and owner-managed businesses. His expertise includes compliance, advisory and transaction work; exit and succession planning; and group reorganisations and structuring. The third new hire is not-for-profit sector-specialist Angela Forde.

Over a career spanning more than 15 years, she has developed specialist experience in social housing and higher education. Her expertise includes cross tax compliance; tax implications of property developments and joint ventures; and capital allowances.

Everton FC

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missLIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 28: A general view outside the stadium prior to the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester City at Goodison Park on December 28, 2020 in Liverpool, England. The game was postponed as a Covid-19 precaution following a number of positive tests. (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Everton Football Club have appointed Sarvar Ismailov and Grant Ingles to their board of directors.

Mr Ismailov joined Everton in 2019 as global commercial consultant before becoming Everton Women's first sporting and commercial director and a member of the Everton Women Strategic Leadership Team in 2020. He will retain his role at Everton Women and will also remain on the club's Stadium Board - a post he took up in 2019. He will join Sasha Ryazantsev as owner's representative on the board.

Mr Ingles' association with Everton began in 2006 when he worked at the club on secondment from the Deloitte Sports Business Group, where he was a consultant. He subsequently joined Everton permanently and became the club's finance director in 2013. He has also held positions away from the club, including spells as finance director at Australian A-League club Sydney FC.

In total, Mr Ingles has worked for Everton for more than 10 years and been part of the Everton Leadership Team since June 2018. He also joined the club's Stadium Board in 2019.

Hodge Jones & Allen

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Law firm Hodge Jones & Allen has appointed asbestos solicitor Joanne Candlish to support its growing reach into the North of England. An accredited senior litigator of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), Ms Candlish has close to 30 years' experience, acting for asbestos victims and their families.

Based in Liverpool, she specialises in mesothelioma and other asbestos related lung disease claims. She also represents those who have suffered serious and complex injuries caused by road traffic and workplace accidents. She said: "I am really pleased to be joining Hodge Jones & Allen.

"The last year and a half has been an extremely challenging year for victims of asbestos exposure. Not only have hospital waiting times increased exponentially but, by its very nature, the Covid-19 virus has exacerbated problems for those with breathing difficulties, and made it harder for people to prove that they have been victim of industrial disease. "It is more important than ever to get the right advice to ensure that families are compensated because of the irresponsible and unforgivable negligence of employers and companies."

DF Capital

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missRichard Baxter of DF Capital

Manchester-based DF Capital has appointed Richard Baxter as its director of credit, leading the business' first line credit underwriting and sanctioning, portfolio management and audit teams.

As part of DF Capital's senior leadership team, Mr Baxter will report into CEO Carl D'Ammassa and will be based at the company headquarters. He has over 30 years' commercial, risk and business change experience, across the asset based lending (ABL), SME finance and the wider banking spaces. Mr Baxter joins from Aldermore where he led the portfolio risk team, covering the invoice and specialist finance product lines.

Before Aldermore, he built a strong portfolio of experience at the Royal Bank of Scotland in its ABL, invoice discounting and working capital product divisions.

eStar Truck & Van

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Kate Howdon has joined Mercedes-Benz truck and van firm eStar as head of HR. She joins eStar from TrustFord, the largest Ford-dedicated dealer group, where she was regional HR manager. She said: "I have always enjoyed working in the automotive sector, as you get to work alongside such a diverse mix of roles, people, and places, so I'm excited to bring all of that knowledge together into my new role at eStar.

"As a relatively new company, less than a year old, we're at such a key part of the journey, so I'm looking forward to adding value and making a difference."


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missMile Holford

PwC UK has this week appointed Mike Holford as director to lead its North West covenant advisory scheme. Mr Holford joins PwC from EY's Pensions Covenant Advisory team where he spent more than three years, including a six-month secondment to the Pensions Regulator. Prior to this, he spent 12 years at KPMG.

He said: "I am delighted to be leading PwC's employer covenant offering in the North West and helping to deliver on our growth plans in the region. "I look forward to bringing my recent experience of working with TPR, as well as years of experience providing employer covenant advice, to help both trustees and scheme sponsors tackle the changing economic and regulatory landscape."

Social Chain

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missSocial Chain, Manchester

Social Chain in Manchester has announced the hiring of more senior talent to aid the development of its fast-growing media division. Mike Carrington has joined as the head of sales for the media division from LADbible, where he headed up its gaming category.

He was also the former head of brand partnerships at Joe Media. Joe Watts also joins the media division as the head of sport partnerships and will be the commercial lead for selling the SPORF channel's value proposition. He was previously commercial sport manager at The Guardian, where he also led on sports partnerships.

Sarah Perkins has joined as editorial director. She is both a senior leader and a key part of the evolution of Social Chain's publishing division. Her experience at Brave Bison and Jungle Creations will see her lead the wider editorial team at Social Chain and evolve social commerce for its portfolio of owned brands, which include SPORF, GameByte and Student Problems.


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missMcBride is behind the Oven Pride brand

Manchester-based cleaning products group McBride, which is behind the likes of Oven Pride, has appointed Alastair Murray as a non-executive director with effect from 2 August 2021.

Mr Murray is a former acting chief executive and chief financial officer of Premier Foods and was also group finance director of Diary Crest and The Body Shop. Jeff Nodland, chairman of McBride, said: "Alastair brings valuable experience from customer-focused businesses including The Body Shop and Premier Foods. "This, combined with his strong financial experience makes him an excellent addition to the Board.

We are delighted to welcome Alastair to McBride."

MHA Moore and Smalley

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missLee Pimlett and David Bennett of MHA Moore and Smalley

North West accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley has strengthened its Liverpool office with a senior appointment to its tax team. Lee Pimlett has been appointed senior tax manager, joining the business from UHY Hacker Young in Manchester where he worked as a research and development tax manager. He said: "The MHA Moore and Smalley brand is well established and respected in the North West professional services community.

I'm looking forward to using my experience to help further develop the firm's reputation in the Liverpool area and providing advice to MHA Moore and Smalley's wide ranging and growing client base."


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

An accountancy firm has added further expertise to its team to help clients manage major changes in the tax system. Holly Andrews joins Cumbria-based MoynanSmith as cloud accounting manager as the Government push to ensure all taxes are submitted digitally gathers pace. Ms Andrews, who also holds a first class honours degree in Maths, will be responsible for helping business and personal clients understand and comply with the new requirements.

Leonard Curtis Legal

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missPaula Smith of Leonard Curtis Legal

Manchester-headquartered law firm Leonard Curtis Legal has strengthened its corporate and commercial services team with the appointment of Paula Smith as a director.

With over 20 years top-flight legal experience advising SMEs and entrepreneurs in a wide variety of sectors, she will play a key role in growing Leonard Curtis Legal's corporate and commercial division amongst accountants and SME clients nationwide. Her key areas of expertise include acquisitions and disposals, corporate restructuring, governance and investment. She has particular expertise in advising partnerships and LLPs, having written the Limited Liability Partnerships Handbook and is a contributor to the Accountants' Legal Service.

Healthy Investment

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missJudy Mellor, Holly Baker and Kate Mason of Healthy Investment

Healthy Investment has added three new members to its team, bolstering its customer service and back-office teams.

The savings and investments provider, which is headquartered in Bury, Greater Manchester, has appointed Judy Mellor as membership development coordinator, while Holly Baker has joined as claims coordinator and Kate Mason has been appointed as accounts assistant. Ms Mellor, who lives in Bury, joins Healthy Investment following a career spent in customer service roles. Immediately prior to taking up her new position she worked for 17 years as a customer service adviser at DCL in Waterfoot, Lancashire.

Ms Baker's new role spans Healthy Investment's administration and finance teams, ensuring investors can access their funds quickly and efficiently. She takes a lead on claims and withdrawals, including dealing with the families and solicitors of deceased members. As accounts assistant, Ms Mason is responsible for the society's purchasing invoices, the collection of members' premiums and for producing membership and finance reports.

She is currently studying towards her Association of Accounting Technicians exams.


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Cloud solutions specialist Synapse 360 has appointed Stephen Douglas as managing director to lead the business through the next stage of its growth. He has worked at Synapse360 for over 14 years and has held a number of different roles across the business including data solutions director and sales director. As MD, Mr Douglas will be responsible for achieving Synapse360's business goals and delivering on its ambition to grow to five times its current size over the next five years.

He said: "It's an exciting time as we set our sights on becoming a leader in the cloud and managed services market. I am proud to grow this dynamic business and lead our exceptionally talented team."

Ethical Social Group

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missRhonda Alexander

Cheshire-based tech company Ethical Social Group has appointed Rhonda Alexander as the new CEO and Louise McCarthy as board chairperson for its new dating app, Fluttr, ahead of its official launch this autumn. Ethical Social Group was created with a vision to transform the landscape of social media forever and give people a positive experience, with the safety and control they deserve.

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missLouise McCarthy

New CEO Ms Alexander, who is also a board member of Ethical Social Group, is a native New Yorker who now lives in central London.

Ms McCarthy is an award-winning industry leader, who champions results-driven, innovative and ground-breaking transformational work with businesses and organisations of all sizes. Launching this year, Fluttr will have integrated ID verification required to join so that members "really are who they say they are". It will create a community of members who feel "safe and protected".


Trade credit insurer Atradius has bolstered its regional presence with a new UK north manager.

Alastair Divers has been appointed to the role of account manager for Atradius' northern hub, bringing experience in working with corporate clients and passion for international affairs. Prior to joining Atradius, he was corporate account manager for waste management company Biffa, responsible for high-level strategic planning and commercial development. He said: "With a great deal of interest in foreign policy, I was immediately drawn to Atradius as a professional, global outfit with extensive expertise.

Across the north, there are considerable numbers of businesses trading internationally and seeking to export further afield which Atradius supports day in, day out."

Taylors Solicitors

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Alison Rowley has been appointed a senior associate at Taylors Solicitors as the firm's disputes team grows further. Ms Rowley has nearly 15 years' experience on legal issues including minority shareholder petitions, supply chain disagreements and commercial landlord disputes. It comes after the North West-based firm saw a "surge" in instructions from companies involved in commercial wrangles due to a range of issues.

Ms Rowley said: "Due to the fallout from the pandemic, we have seen a marked increase in demand from clients for support on commercial disputes of various types, and we expect this to rise further as government support schemes come to an end. "Lockdowns, combined with Brexit, have interrupted many trading agreements, leading to fragmented supply chains and breaches of contractual obligations.


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Azets has announced the appointment of David Simmons as a director in the North West corporate finance team, based in Manchester. The accounting, tax and business advisory firm is a chartered accountant who has specialised in corporate finance work for over 20 years.

Azets said the appointment will enhance its corporate finance capabilities in the North West as it looks to grow its team after a record start to 2021. Mr Simmons said: "I am excited to be joining Azets and to be part of the largest regional professional services firm for SMEs across Europe. "I have worked with SMEs providing corporate finance advice on raising finance, as well as buying and selling companies for over 20 years and I look forward to using my experience to assist SMEs as we come out of the COVID pandemic as part of the Azets team."

MAC Construction Consultants

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

National construction firm MAC Construction Consultants has further bolstered its senior management team with the appointment of director Richard Bellis.

Bringing more than 18 years' experience to the role, he joins the firm's Cost and Project Management team and will lead its Manchester-based team. He said: "In recent years MAC has positioned itself as a true market leader in the delivery of major public and private sector developments. "The team has dealt with the challenges presented by the pandemic head on and have demonstrated an unwavering dedication and commitment to acting in the best interests of their clients and going above and beyond during what has been a difficult year for many.

"The role with MAC represents a new and exciting challenge for me, and I am looking forward to working alongside and adding value to the Manchester team - and those further afield - over the coming months."

CEL Solicitors

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Liverpool-based law firm CEL Solicitors has appointed a new head of legal standards and compliance officer for legal practice, as the company eyes up further growth. Andy London has joined the civil litigation specialist to take on both roles, focusing on maintaining high standards across the firm and helping to drive staff development. His role will see him act as the 'eyes and ears' of industry body the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), ensuring that the relevant structures and procedures are in place as the company continues to grow.

He said: "I qualified as a solicitor fairly late on in my career, after many years of working as a paralegal and a claims handler, but I firmly believe that the route into the industry - or indeed the timing - should not matter when it comes to being an excellent legal professional. "I'm incredibly passionate about offering the right level of support and training in the workplace, something that the firm's directors had in common with me. It's vital to teach people how to do a job - and do it well."

Simpson Millar

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Consumer law firm Simpson Millar has further added to its growing national network of catastrophic injury and medical negligence experts with the appointment of partner Helen Neville.

Based in Liverpool and boasting more than 15 years' experience, she joins from Hugh James where she worked on a range of cases involving cerebral palsy, as well as spinal and brain injuries; and specialising in cases concerning the delay in diagnosis and treatment of cancer. She is a member of the eminent Law Society Clinical Negligence Panel. She said: "I am delighted to be joining Simpson Millar at such an exciting time in its growth journey.

"The firm's commitment to opening up the law and providing transparent legal services is something that really resonates with me, and I am very much looking forward to having the opportunity to work alongside such a passionate team who are as dedicated to supporting clients as I am."


Liverpool-based Shopify Plus partner agency Velstar has appointed two new members to its project management team, following further client wins. The first is Paul Knight, who has joined the team as senior project manager from web design and development agency Mando. He brings over 10 years of experience managing, planning and executing digital projects for clients including global automotive manufacturers, national utility providers, and large-scale non-for-profit organisations.

He joins alongside Amy Forrester, who has also come onboard as a project manager, having previously worked at employer branding agency Ph.Creative. She has over four years of experience in project and account management, working with clients across the recruitment industry to produce a range of digital platforms and marketing campaigns.

Hill Dickinson

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Hill Dickinson has added capacity to its restructuring team with the appointment of recovery and insolvency specialist, Mark Lund. His appointment comes ahead of a predicted surge in client enquires for legal advice related to businesses in distress, or at risk, as a result of the ongoing Covid pandemic.

Mark Lund will act as a consultant lawyer, based in the firm's Manchester office, joining head of restructuring Paul Spence and fellow partner Will Jones in serving a wide client base nationally. Mr Lund said: "I'm excited to be joining Hill Dickinson's Restructuring team at a time when many of our corporate clients need increased access to timely advice and guidance. "It's undoubtedly been a challenging time to be in business and our job is to help clients chart a new path towards stability and recovery."


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't miss

Darrell Jones has joined Lancashire-based Flavourfresh Salads team as operations manager.

Mr Jones joins the commercial glasshouse grower from his previous job at Wigan-based Bakkavor Foods. He will oversee the running of the operations functions across its four sites. He said: "The company continues to invest in the operational infrastructure, both financially and in terms of human resources, training and professional development - and I'm more than ready take this journey with them."

Pannone Corporate

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missPannone Corporate's Barry Sharples

Manchester-based law firm Pannone Corporate has bolstered its debt recovery team with the appointment of Barry Sharples as associate partner.

Mr Sharples joins from Fieldfisher where he restructured and led the firm's debt recovery practice. He brings considerable experience to the role, having previously worked at a boutique commercial litigation law firm in Liverpool for 13 years. A specialist in bulk recovery work and outsourced debt recovery, he has acted for a wide variety of clients, such as large commercial landlords, high-profile insurers, financial services providers, service sector companies and insolvency practitioners.

Foresight Group

People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missClaire Alvarez of Foresight Group

Claire Alvarez has been promoted to partner in infrastructure and private equity investment manager Foresight Group's Manchester office.

Ms Alverez, who joined Foresight from Deloitte as a senior investment manager in 2016, has helped established Foresight in the North West as an active and supportive investor in SMEs. She led the successful investment in Lancashire-based e-Commerce firm Hedges Direct, which generated a 5.6x return over the investment period as revenues soared 93%. She has also worked closely with Nisha Katona, founder of Mowgli Street Food, supporting the business through its rapid growth from three to 15 restaurants and through the challenges caused by the pandemic.


People on the move: 47 big North West appointments you shouldn't missQuantuma has promoted Frank Ofonagoro

Business advisory firm Quantuma has promoted Frank Ofonagoro to managing director, based in its Manchester office.

Mr Ofonagoro joined Quantuma two years ago with more than 20 years' experience - including senior managing positions at PwC and KPMG where he undertook financial and operational restructuring advisory mandates for lenders, distressed/special situation funds, SMEs, and FTSE 100s.

He will continue to grow Quantuma's financial advisory practice in the North West, working alongside office head Robert Parry and restructuring managing director, Jeremy Woodside, to continue to lead the firm's support of businesses in the region.

Quantuma has made 28 promotions in total, including Brian Burke, who takes a managing director role at its London office.