Businesses across the West Country are continuing to hire and promote staff as the UK focuses on its recovery from the pandemic.
Firms in sectors from finance to technology to commercial property have announced a flurry of appointments in the last few weeks.
Here, BusinessLive takes a look at some of the people moving up in their professions.
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Tom Carter is taking over as chief executive of Bristol-based tech firm Ultraleap, it has been announced.
Mr Carter, who founded the business in 2013 and was previously the firm’s chief technology officer, takes up the helm from Steve Cliffe who is retiring.
Mr Cliffe has led Ultraleap since it was established and has grown the company to a global team of more than 150 people.
He also oversaw multiple successful funding rounds, its international expansion and the acquisition of Leap Motion Inc.
Mr Cliffe will stay on as a special advisor to continue to support Mr Carter and the leadership team.
“It has been an honour and a privilege to lead Ultraleap as CEO for the past eight years, and I am very pleased with the success we have achieved,” he said.
Mr Carter added: “I want to thank Steve for his outstanding leadership and mentorship. Having had the privilege of working closely with Steve over the past eight years, I have learned a tremendous amount from him and am pleased that I will continue to benefit from his guidance moving forward.”
Liquid Link, the finance arm of the Portsmouth-based Liquid Friday Group, has appointed Darren Levers as a director.
With over 20 years’ experience in the invoice finance and recruitment finance sectors, Mr Levers has been with Liquid Link since last year.
Chief executive Colin Gunnell, said Mr Levers’ experience and knowledge of Liquid Link and the invoice finance industry was a “great strength” to the business.
He said: “I am delighted to see him joining the board and driving the company forward.
“His directorship and input from a business development perspective will be hugely significant as we plan our next phase of growth and expansion.”
Mr Levers added: “I am overjoyed to become a director and shareholder of Liquid Link. In my opinion Liquid Link offers something no-one else offers and that is a very personalised funding solution for the recruitment agencies who use our services.”
Bristol law firm VWV has promoted seven lawyers to partner.
The individuals span several teams, including Angharad Lynn in Private Client; James Garside in Regulatory Compliance; Laura Chesham in Charities; Leila Inman in Commercial Property; Vicki Bowles in Data Protection; Jo Campbell from VWV approach; and Caitlin Anniss from VWV’s subsidiary brand Narrow Quay HR.
In addition to the Partner promotions, 11 more of the firm’s legal staff have achieved promotions to associate or senior associate roles.
The new wave of promotions now brings the firm’s total number of partners to 91.
Managing partner Simon Heald said: “Congratulations to Angharad, Caitlin, James, Jo, Laura, Leila and Vicki on their well-deserved promotions.
“They have all significantly contributed to the success of the firm and I am delighted to recognise their efforts and welcome them to the growing partnership at VWV.”
CBRE has strengthened its planning and development team in the South West with the appointment of Isabel Keppel as associate director.
Isabel, who has more than 11 years’ experience in planning, began her career at Arup in Bristol before moving to London to work for AECOM and then CBRE in 2014. Having relocated back to Bristol, she will lead CBRE’s South West planning offer.
She has experience across all sectors, project scales and stages in the planning process, with particular interest in urban regeneration, residential, mixed-use, education and student housing projects.
“I’m incredibly excited to be joining CBRE’s Bristol office and to have relocated back to this amazing city which presents many fantastic opportunities for planning and development,” she said.
Goodman Corporate Finance
The corporate finance provider has expanded its team in the South West region with the appointment of banking specialist Chris Preston.
Mr Preston, who will be based in the Sutton Harbour Plymouth office, will provide support to SMEs across the West of England.
He has 35 years’ experience of advising SMEs through high street bankers NatWest/RBS, where he was most recently the regional managing director for the South West and Wales region as well as regional board chairman.
He said: “My knowledge of the South West economy, coupled with the experience, independence and breadth of the Goodman team and its panel of more than 200 lenders, will allow me to support local and regional businesses as they look to restart, develop and prosper.”
Lucy Bennett, an adviser at West Country financial firm Old Mill has become the firm’s youngest ever head of office.
The 24-year-old has been announced as Old Mill’s new head of office for Yeovil where her role is to encourage collaboration and engagement amongst the teams and support Old Mill’s work within the local community, alongside her role as client adviser.
Ms Bennett has worked at Old Mill for six years.
She said: “Bringing everyone together and providing another level of support has always been important, but now it feels more important than ever. Whether people are working from home, the office, or both – they will require different levels of support to make them feel comfortable with the transition, which I hope I can help provide.”
Ms Bennett said she sees her appointment as a “perfect illustration of how forward-looking” Old Mill is when it comes to career development.
She added: “We are most definitely not ‘old school’ in this respect, and hopefully me being slightly more junior will be beneficial in encouraging others to take a ‘leap of faith’ and put themselves out there.”
The debt management system supplier has appointed Ahmed Amin as chief revenue officer.
Thew news follows the recent appointments of Elizabeth Abbott-Stratford to chief financial officer and Dr David Scholefield to chief operating officer.
Mr Amin joins Flexys from AccountScore where he was involved in building revenue that led to an acquisition by Equifax.
Flexys chief executive Jon Hickman said: “Ahmed brings exciting levels of can-do enthusiasm to the role of chief revenue officer and comes on board at a time when our solution capability and our reputation for excellent client service is driving significant levels of interest and with demand for our solutions at an all-time high.”
Mr Aminn added: “I am inspired by the energy at Flexys and by the sophisticated debt management system that they have developed. The response of the credit and collections market has been exceptional and I look forward to expanding our client base and consolidating our position as the global leader in debt management and collections solutions.”
Bristol-based CRM agency Armadillo has named Andrew Terry as its new head of strategy.
Mr Terry will work across the firm’s big-name brands including McDonald’s, Disney and Carnival UK.
He was most recently data strategy director at Wunderman Thompson and spent three years working across Shell Drivers’ Club globally. He also spent two years on its multi-million-pound BT account.
Mr Terry’s career has spanned the B2B and B2C sectors, with a firm focus on driving return on investment.
Previous roles also included data and marketing specialist at local publisher Newsquest.
Armadillo chief executive James Ray said: “From the moment we met Andrew we were blown away by his passion and enthusiasm for results-driven strategy. His vast experience and knowledge were exactly what we were looking for and we’re thrilled to welcome him to the team.”
Mr Terry added: “The people at Armadillo are very, very good at what they do. Their long-lasting relationships with big name clients are a fantastic indication of just how strong they and their operations really are. It’s an incredibly exciting time to be joining the agency.”
Bath Preservation Trust
Bath Preservation Trust (BPT) has appointed Alex Sherman as its new chief executive.
Mr Sherman, who joins BPT after seven years as head of business for the South West Heritage Trust, will take up his new role on October 4, 2021.
He takes over from Caroline Kay, who stood down as chief executive at the end of April following more than 13 successful years at the helm.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining Bath Preservation Trust at such a significant time. As we look forward to the future, I am excited to work with our many passionate staff, volunteers, and members, as well as existing and new partners, to make the Trust more resilient, inclusive and relevant to all people.”
BPT chair Thomas Sheppard added: “Alex’s understanding and approach to the challenges and opportunities ahead impressed all who met him, and I look forward to working with him.”
The R&D tax relief consultancy has announced that it is making a trio of changes to its senior management team as the sector gears up for a market shake-up.
Sara Brigden has become ForrestBrown’s new managing director. She takes over the role from the company’s founder Simon Brown, who is now chairman of the business. Mr Brown will be joined by Lisa-Marie Smith as ForrestBrown’s new vice-chairman.
Ms Brigden will lead the business, its operations and drive performance to deliver the agreed strategy to 2024 and beyond.
She said: “It’s a real honour to be taking the business forward at a time when there’s a real sea change underway in the sector. The new leadership structure at ForrestBrown coincides with the changing market conditions for the wider R&D tax landscape.”
Ms Brigden joined ForrestBrown in 2016 as marketing manager and quickly progressed to head of marketing, before becoming a director in the leadership team.
Mr Brown founded ForrestBrown in 2013 having identified a need from innovative companies for highly targeted R&D tax credit advice. The firm now employs more than 130 staff.
South West law firm Stephens Scown has appointed a new partner.
Stephen Wray, a litigation specialist and Taunton resident, has joined the employee-owned firm’s commercial dispute resolution team.
He has more than 22 years’ experience in litigation and has most recently been focusing on property and commercial disputes.
He said: “I have been really impressed by the unrelenting importance Stephens Scown places on putting its clients first, and I look forward to bringing my experience, perspective and local knowledge to my new role while building on the firm’s brand awareness in Somerset.”
The firm’s head of commercial dispute resolution, Catherine Mathews, added: “Stephen has developed an excellent reputation for giving pragmatic and sound advice, and for being a meticulous and fierce negotiator. He also has strong network links in Somerset and will be a great asset to the firm. We look forward to welcoming him into the team.”
Salcombe Brewery Co has appointed Jordan Mace as commercial director.
Mr Mace’s background includes experience with Barcadi Brown Forman, Fuller’s and Guy Ritchie’s brewery.
The appointment follows the company establishing its own bottling, canning and kegging facility and increasing its brewing capacity by threefold.
Chair John Tiner said: “To support our growth we created the role of commercial director and I am delighted to welcome Jordan Mace to this position.
“Jordan joins us at a key stage in our development with sales rocketing this summer due to our new partnerships, some key retail listings and the full reopening of hospitality businesses combined with some fantastic sport viewing opportunities and significantly more people staying in the UK for their holidays than usual.
Mr Tiner said Mr Mace’s experience would be “pivotal” to the business as it moves forward.
The Cornish law firm has appointed civil dispute specialist Angelo Micciche as the new head of its litigation team.
Mr Micciche has more than 20 years’ practice in litigation within the public sector and legal firms in Cornwall and Devon, including Kerrier District Council, Coodes and GA Solicitors.
He is a full member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and the Association of Contested Trust and Probate Specialists (ACTAPS).
Since qualifying in 1999, he has gained significant experience in a wide range of litigation, with additional specialisms is in disputed probate, wills, inheritances and trusts; he also holds the STEP Advanced Certificate in Trust Disputes.
“I was brought up, educated and trained as a solicitor in Falmouth and it is great to return,” he said.
“Hine Downing is a highly respected, long-established and extremely friendly law firm and it’s a real privilege to join the team.”
Property consultancy Alder King has further strengthened its planning team with another new appointment, the latest in a series of high profile hires.
Rachel Robinson has now joined the firm as a principal planner, bringing 17 years’ private sector experience.
She has been a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute since 2008 and has a range of planning experience across a number of sectors including commercial, healthcare and residential. She joins from Tetra Tech Planning in Bristol.
Sarah Hawkins, head of planning at Alder King, said: “We’ve significantly grown the team in recent months to service a broad range of existing and new clients. With her significant level of experience across different sectors, Rachel is an excellent addition to the team and we’re delighted to have her on board.”
At 11 strong, Alder King’s planning team is now one of the largest planning consultancies in the South West.
Gloucester-based investment specialist Blackfinch Investments has boosted its business development team with the appointment of Tom Jaffrey as investor relationships manager.
Based from Blackfinch’s head office in Gloucester, Mr Jaffrey will be responsible for the distribution of Blackfinch Asset Management portfolios as well as Blackfinch’s range of tax-efficient solutions.
He has more than a decade of experience within the investment management industry, having previously held senior positions at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Coutts & Co.
He said: “I’m delighted to be joining Blackfinch, which is known within the investment industry for its market-leading product offering and focus on offering best-in-class service to the UK financial adviser community. The firm’s clear commitment to ESG factors was also a massive pull.”
Jerry Price, chief distribution officer at Blackfinch, added: “We’re excited to have Tom join Blackfinch during what is a time of significant business development and investment opportunity.”
Law firm Lodders has announced ten senior promotions across its real estate, private client, and family teams, including two legal director appointments and a partner.
In Lodders’ real estate department, Ian Yarde and Theresa Spalding are promoted to legal director, and Daniel Macleod and Josy Haigh to senior associate. Lauren Pearson, who joined Lodders as a paralegal in 2014, and completed her training and qualified as a solicitor at the firm, is promoted to associate.
Family law expert Vivienne Middleton of Lodders’ family law team becomes a partner, and Gill Coombs and Sarah Hawkins are promoted to senior associate in Lodders’ private client team.
Also a member of the family law team, Christine Williams, becomes an associate, and Angela Howard is promoted to the role of marketing manager at the firm
Managing partner Paul Mourton said: “Each of the individuals chosen for promotion are very capable, committed and talented experts in their field. Many of them have progressed their careers entirely at Lodders, and all make a highly important and valuable contribution to their teams, the firm, and our clients.
Lodders has offices in Cheltenham, Henley in Arden, Stratford upon Avon and Birmingham.
The Bristol based property development company has made two senior appointments as it continues to drive its business forward with some of the South West’s most significant commercial developments.
Josh Roberts joins Baylis Estates as property director. He has over 32 years’ experience in the South West property market starting his career with King Sturge before moving into the development sector.
Most recently he was a founder shareholder of regional developer Cubex Land.
Elfyn Haycock is the second new member of the team, becoming development director. He heads up project delivery as well as working with managing director David Mace and Mr Roberts to appraise and secure new development opportunities.
Over his career he has delivered around £500m of developments across retail, mixed-use, office, student, residential and industrial sectors, for developers, funds and institutions.
Hepreviously worked at JLL with most recently completed projects including two multi-million pound Build to Rent and Student accommodation schemes in the South West.
Mr Mace said: “As a company we’ve helped shape some of the most significant commercial developments in the region most notably the Mall at Cribbs Causeway.
“As we all look forward to a rebounding of the economy over coming months, Josh and Elfyn will be playing an important part in the development of commercial, retail and leisure opportunities contributing to the vitality of the South West.”
PwC has named Paul Atkinson as head of financial services in the West and Wales, as the firm continues to build its presence in an industry worth more than £10bn in gross value added to the region.
Mr Atkinson, who replaces Will Conner in the role, will help promote and connect the region’s thriving financial services sector across the UK and to international markets.
PwC has more than 120 people working in financial services based in Bristol and Cardiff.
Mr Atkinson qualified as an accountant in his early career, and then spent six years working he has focused on supporting a wide range of regional and international financial services clients.
He said: “As we start to look beyond the pandemic, it’s essential that we continue to focus on supporting our financial services clients to navigate new and emerging risks to achieve their strategic objectives.”
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