Business

Latest round-up of appointments and promotions in the South West

Business from across the West of England are continuing to hire and promote staff in the fourth quarter of the year.

Companies from industries including hospitality, law, construction and financial services have made appointments as the region’s economy continues to bounce back from the pandemic.

An increase in tourism and the easing of Covid restrictions have boosted the South West economy and created jobs – and firms are continuing to recruit.

Here, we take a look at all the movers and shakers from our region over the last few weeks.

If you have a new or recent appointment or promotion, please email [email protected] – and please attach a picture!

Partners&

Marcia Reid of South West-based Partners&

The chartered insurance broker has appointed Marcia Reid as managing partner of wellbeing, engagement and benefits.

The firm, which has offices in Bristol, Newquay, Okehampton, Plymouth and South Molton, said the move is in line with its strategy to provide “quality advice” to clients across insurance, employee benefits and risk management.

Marcia will report to Partners& chief executive Phil Barton and join the executive team. She has 30 years’ experience in corporate health and wellbeing.

Senior management roles have included national account manager for Bupa UK, head of SME at SimplyHealth, and director of corporate consulting at Lorica. Most recently, she was managing director of the health and protection division of Stackhouse Poland, prior to its acquisition by Gallagher in 2019.

She said: “This is a challenging time for anyone involved in the business of health but a significant opportunity for specialist advisers to work closely with their clients to protect themselves, their people and their business. I am delighted to be joining the talented and inspirational executive team at Partners&.”

Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa

Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa appoints Ashley Torr as operations manager
Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa appoints Ashley Torr as operations manager

The country house hotel and spa, which was recently acquired by Bath-based hotelier Kaleidoscope Collection, has appointed Ashley Torr as operations manager.

Mr Torr is a hospitality specialist with more than a decade of experience, working alongside some of the country’s greatest hoteliers, chefs and mixologists. These include Michelin-star chef Richard Davies and hoteliers Richard Ball and Paul Sadler.

Before joining Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa, Mr Torr had dealings with large-scale acquisitions and refurbishments including one in the region of £28m with Conde Nast.

He will be overseeing all hotel operations, and will be working with Kaleidoscope Collection founders, Ian and Christa Taylor, and managing director Jonathan Walker.

He said: “It’s a privilege to be joining Bishopstrow Hotel & Spa. I have watched the team from afar for many years and have always been in awe of the incredible journeys they take their venues on to create something unique, eccentric, and luxurious.”

The Openwork Partnership

The Openwork Partnership, based in Swindon, has appointed Frank Meere as chief operating officer
The Openwork Partnership, based in Swindon, has appointed Frank Meere as chief operating officer

The Swindon-based financial advice and investment network has appointed Frank Meere as chief operating officer.

He has more than 30 years’ experience in the financial services sector including a wide range of chief operating officer and general management positions with regional and global responsibilities.

Most recently Mr Meere was head of data and analytics at NatWest and previously worked at ABN Amro in the UK, the Netherlands and Poland.

Philip Howell, chief executive of The Openwork Partnership, said: “We are delighted to have attracted a leader with Frank’s experience and range of skills to help us continue to deliver on our growth strategy.”

Mr Meere added: “I am really excited to be joining The Openwork Partnership and look forward to supporting the continued expansion of the company.”

The Openwork Partnership has more than 4,300 financial advisers across the UK and operates as a directly authorised, multi-panel distribution network.

RED Construction South West

From left to right: Grant Millar, Derek Quinn, James Devey of RED Construction South West
From left to right: Grant Millar, Derek Quinn, James Devey of RED Construction South West

The company has announced the appointment of two senior directors to establish the business in the South West.

Grant Millar has joined as operations director and James Devey as commercial director. They will work alongside Derek Quinn, who launched the business as managing director at the beginning of September.

Mr Millar has spent most of his career in the South West construction market. As RED South West’s operations director, he oversees the division’s development and project delivery.

Mr Devey’s civil and structural design construction career has been based mainly in Bristol and the surrounding areas.

Coinciding with the appointments, RED South West has opened its Bristol office in the 235,000 sq ft Print Hall and Unity Street development, which forms part of the 2.4m sq ft Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone.

RED South West’s managing director, Derek Quinn, said: “I have had the pleasure of working with Grant and James for many years and feel very proud to be paving the way in the South West with such a strong and committed team.”

Cornish Lithium

Cornish Lithium has appointed Patrick Forward as head of project development – hard rock minerals, and Henry Chalcraft as its land agent
Cornish Lithium has appointed Patrick Forward as head of project development – hard rock minerals, and Henry Chalcraft as its land agent

The mineral exploration and development company based in Cornwall has appointed two new senior team members – Patrick Forward as head of project development for hard rock minerals and Henry Chalcraft as its land agent.

The appointments follow the company’s work to develop its projects and mineral rights portfolio across Cornwall, to implement its goal of creating a battery metals hub for the benefit of the region and wider UK. Earlier this year the business raised £6m from investors in just 20 minutes.

Mr Forward has experience of developing hard rock base and precious metals projects across the globe.

Mr Chalcraft has had a career in land management and minerals extraction. Cornish Lithium said his experience in these two sectors would be of “great benefit” as it looks to consolidate its mineral rights portfolio and foster land use relationships.

Jeremy Wrathall, founder and chief executive of Cornish Lithium, said: “We are delighted to continue to attract such high calibre individuals as we work towards the development of our exciting portfolio.”

Royds Withy King

Royds Withy King lawyer Lizzy Painter has been announced as chair of Generation for Change South West
Royds Withy King lawyer Lizzy Painter has been announced as chair of Generation for Change South West

Lizzy Painter, a solicitor at Royds Withy King who specialises in construction and engineering, has been named chair of Generation for Change (G4C) South West.

G4C is the professional voice of young people in the UK built environment industry.

It aims to drive change in the industry, through the development and connection of the future industry leaders.

G4C has a network of 10 regions across the country. G4C South West is part of Constructing Excellence South West.

She said: “I am delighted to be appointed as the new chair of G4C South West. I look forward to expanding on our message and goals, as we continue to represent and promote the breadth of passion and opportunity in the industry across this region.”

Tewkesbury Park

James Mearing has just joined Tewkesbury Park as the new head chef
James Mearing has just joined Tewkesbury Park as the new head chef

James Mearing has been appointed the new head chef at Gloucestershire’s Tewkesbury Park hotel.

He previously worked at the Bear Hotel, in Woodstock, where he was head chef.

Mr Mearing, who was a sports coach before becoming a chef, has also worked at the Lanes Hotel, in Somerset; the Fawsley Hall Hotel, the historic country manor in Daventry; Winchester’s Lainston House Hotel; and the Gainsborough Hotel in Bath.

Before joining the Bear Hotel, a project at Carol Bamford’s Michelin-starred Wild Rabbit, gave him the opportunity to perform in open theatre-style kitchens.

In his new role, Mr Mearing will oversee all of the hotel’s food and drink outlets, including the main Mint Restaurant and the No. 19 health and golf cafe, plus the Orangery. He will also be responsible for the development of menus for the hotel’s conference and banqueting offering.

He said: “I’m thrilled to join Tewkesbury Park. I know the past five years has seen general manager, Patrick Jones, and his team lead the hotel on a successful trajectory and I’m excited to become part of that team, whilst stamping my individual mark on the cuisine.”

Golden Hind

Golden Hind has appointed a new general manager, Joanne Purchase
Golden Hind has appointed a new general manager, Joanne Purchase

The popular Plymouth pub has appointed Joanne Purchase as its new general manager.

Ms Purchase previously worked at the Tamar pub in Plymouth for four years as an assistant.

“Its always been a dream of mine to run a pub and I couldn’t have wished for a better one,” she said.

“The locals and staff have made me feel so welcome and part of a massive family. I have lived in Plymouth for 10 years now and thanks to the people around me I feel so at home.”

The Golden Hind has recently launched a new menu. It also fundraises for Macmillan Cancer Support and more recently Ms Purchase walked 29 miles with some of her team raising £1,000.

Optimum Finance

The former small business commissioner, Philip King, has joined Optimum Finance
The former small business commissioner, Philip King, has joined Optimum Finance

The Bristol-based company, which helps businesses unlock the cash tied up in unpaid invoices, has appointed Philip King as a non-executive director.

Mr King was previously the interim small business commissioner (SBC) and is the former chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management (CICM).

He has worked in the credit industry for more than 40 years and is an acknowledged expert in the world of credit and cashflow management. He has held senior roles within Olivetti and Vodafone.

He is the author of the Managing Cashflow Guides series – including a guide dedicated to alternative finance – and created the Prompt Payment Code at the behest of politician Peter Mandelson.

Anthony Persse, chief executive of Optimum Finance, said: “Philip’s expertise is second to none, as a champion for small businesses and having written extensively on the benefits of Invoice Finance to support cashflow and business growth”

Kennedys Law

Laura Hurst, a partner at Kennedys Law
Laura Hurst, a partner at Kennedys Law

Global law firm Kennedys has announced the appointment of a new partner as it looks to strengthen its presence in Bristol.

Laura Hurst, a senior associate in the firm’s London professional liability division, has been promoted to partner as part of a team moving to the region.

She will be joined by senior associates Beth Cara and Mike Smale, who are both currently based in Taunton.

Laura, who studied at the University of the West of England, joined Kennedys after qualifying in 2007 and handles a varied caseload from professional indemnity defence (for solicitors, brokers, accountants and financial professionals) to insurance and reinsurance coverage work.

She said: “I’m really excited to help Kennedys strengthen its presence in the South West and to be moving back to such a fantastic vibrant city, with a thriving insurance market.”

Grant Thornton

Richard Marsh. Grant Thornton UK LLP
Richard Marsh, Grant Thornton UK LLP

Financial and business advisory firm Grant Thornton has promoted its private tax director, Richard Marsh, to partner.

Mr Marsh, who joined the firm as a graduate, will head up the private wealth area of the South team from the firm’s Bristol office.

He is the first head of the southern Grant Thornton private tax team, bringing together specialists from Bristol, Cardiff, Oxford, Reading and Southampton.

Since joining 15 years ago as a graduate, Mr Marsh has developed his expertise working on scores of corporate finance transactions, including some in excess of £100m. He is also responsible for supporting ultra-high-net-worth families in all areas of tax affecting them and their businesses.

He said: “It’s a significant milestone in my career and I’m excited about how we can build on the success we’ve already achieved in the south, bringing our collective tax expertise to bear on a myriad of transactions.”

Osborne Clarke

Lara Burch is the new head of Osborne Clarke's Bristol office
Lara Burch is the new head of Osborne Clarke’s Bristol office

International law firm Osborne Clarke has appointed Lara Burch as the new head of its Bristol office. She succeeds Peter Clough, who has completed two terms in the role.

Ms Burch is a partner in Osborne Clarke’s commercial law team. She joined the firm in 1997 and has been a partner since 2001.

The Bristol office head’s main role is to promote a high-quality working environment, Osborne Clarke said, and by acting on feedback from employees.

Under Mr Clough’s leadership, Osborne Clarke’s Bristol office saw its head count increase from 400 to more than 700 people. During his two terms, the Bristol office won Law Firm of the Year for two consecutive years at the Bristol Law Society Awards.

Andrew Saul, senior partner at Osborne Clarke, said: “We’d like to thank Peter for the huge contribution he’s made during the past six years as head of Bristol. We’re really looking forward to welcoming Lara to the role, and working with her as we enter the next stage of our development in Bristol.”

Stephens Scown

Richard Baker (managing partner) and Alex Mackie (COO) of Stephens Scown LLP
Richard Baker (managing partner) and Alex Mackie (COO) of Stephens Scown LLP

South West employee-owned law firm, Stephens Scown, has appointed Alex Mackie as its first chief operating officer to support the firm’s ambitious three-year strategy and growth aspirations.

Mr Mackie, who has worked in the banking, commercial and legal sectors, joins from Tozers, where he was commercial director.

He said: “I am excited to be joining Stephens Scown at this time, which has proven success as a progressive and high-performing firm with a focus on great client service and engaged people.”

Stephens Scown’s managing partner, Richard Baker, added: “We are delighted to have Alex on board. His appointment forms a pivotal part of our strategy for growth, as he brings with him a wealth of commercial expertise along with strong interpersonal skills that will help to drive our business forward with purpose and passion.”

Bibby Financial Services (BFS)

Steve Bentley is head of sales for the South West at BFS
Steve Bentley is head of sales for the South West at BFS

The financial services firm has appointed Steve Bentley as head of sales for the South West to consolidate its support for the region’s SMEs.

He has more than 35 years’ experience in the industry and has spent over half of those specialising in invoice finance.

He joins BFS from RBS/NatWest, where he was most recently head of invoice finance, overseeing the business’s provision of invoice finance and asset-based lending to SMEs across the UK.

Mr Bentley has first-hand experience in the South West having served as regional managing director for the region while at RBS invoice finance. Before this he held the corresponding position in the North of England.

In his new role at BFS, he will be charged with leading a team to develop BFS’ presence in the South West and the Bristol area.

He said: “In a post-pandemic and Brexit world, it is critical that SMEs are receiving the required support to match their day-to-day requirements and continued ambition.

“I am very happy to be working in a region I know well to help support SMEs and the local economy.”

Creative UK Group

Caroline Norbury, founding chief executive of Creative England
Caroline Norbury, founding chief executive of Creative England

Creative UK Group has appointed new members to its council following an open call for applications in 2021.

The members are drawn from across each UK nation and region, as well as the full spectrum of creative sub-sectors.

The three representatives from the South West are:

  • Paul Appleby MBE advisor of Bristol Creative Industries and director of VID Communications;
  • Penny Evans, director of KWMC The Factory and founding member of Knowle West Media Centre;
  • Emmie Kell, chief executive of Cornwall Museums Partnership.

UK council members are appointed for a term of two years, convening three times a year to champion and share the priorities, concerns, opportunities and ideas of their creative communities.

Caroline Norbury MBE, chief executive of Creative UK Group, said: “We are very excited to announce the newly appointed members of our UK Council, whose breadth of experience and expertise will be enormously valuable in driving our mission to ensure the best possible conditions for the growth and success of the creative industries.”

Planet Ice

Hannah Thomas has been appointed general manager of Planet Ice in Bristol
Hannah Thomas has been appointed general manager of Planet Ice in Bristol

New Bristol ice skating attraction Planet Ice has appointed a general manager ahead of its opening.

Hannah Thomas started as an ice marshall for a seasonal Ice Rink at We The Curious in Bristol where she later progressed into duty management before becoming the visitor experience manager.

She said her vision for the ice rink centres around focusing on “creating and maintaining collaborative relationships” within the local community to “open the doors” into ice sports.

“As someone who grew-up ice skating in Bristol, I am so happy to be joining the Planet Ice team in bringing a rink back to the city,” she said.

“We are currently recruiting and developing a team for the Bristol site whilst also preparing launch events for the autumn.”

The indoor rink at The Venue Leisure Park, Cribbs Causeway, will be opening its doors to the public for the first time at 9am on October 25.

PwC

PwC names Richard Cleary as risk leader for West & Wales
PwC names Richard Cleary as risk leader for West & Wales

PwC has named Richard Cleary as risk leader for the West and Wales.

He has more than 20 years of transformation programme experience across sectors including retail, utilities and defence, and he is commercial markets leader nationally for technology and data.

His focus in recent years has been on providing board-level assurance over some of the most complex programmes PwC is delivering across the UK.

Originally from Newport and now living in Bristol, he formerly looked after risk assurance for the region. PwC has 90 people working in risk based in Bristol and Cardiff.

He said: “I’m delighted to have been asked to take on this role. I have experience of the market on both sides of the Severn and am proud to call this region my home.

“The last few years in particular have shown how organisations must be resilient to succeed in an unpredictable environment. In this role, I’m looking forward to helping businesses in our region understand how evolving risks might affect them and their industry, equipping them to respond quickly and emerger stronger.”

Beard

Matt Cooper has joined Beard
Matt Cooper has joined Beard

Bristol-based construction firm Beard has appointed Matt Cooper to lead the firm’s operations in the Bristol area.

His appointment follows a period of strong performance for Beard, which has delivered several high-profile projects in the Bristol area including training facilities for Bristol City FC and Bristol Bears and new toll houses at Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Mr Cooper joins the firm from regional contractor Bray & Slaughter.

He said: “This is a great opportunity to build upon the great work that has been achieved here and continue to deliver exciting projects across education, healthcare and leisure sectors, where Beard has excelled in recent years.”

The appointment comes after previous Bristol director Mike Hedges moved into a wider regional role, taking responsibility for Beard’s Bristol, Swindon and Guildford offices.

Mark Beard, chairman at Beard, added: “Matt’s extensive industry experience and insight will be a real asset for Beard, he is a great addition to the leadership team and the business more widely.”

BDP

Architect Adam Darby joins BDP's Bristol studio
Architect Adam Darby joins BDP’s Bristol studio

The Bristol studio of global design practice BDP has appointed Adam Darby as associate architect.

BDP, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, is a global interdisciplinary practice of architects, engineers, designers and urbanists with over 1,000 staff and studios around the world.

Previously an associate director at Assael Architecture in London, Mr Darby has a portfolio of past projects for big-name institutional developers, funders and operators including Legal & General, Cubex, Longharbour, Grainger, Apache Capital and Essential Living.

His work includes build-to-rent schemes in Bristol such as Box Makers Yard at Temple Quarter, and Millwrights Place at Finzels Reach, as well as its affordable housing scheme, Coopers Court.

He said: “I’m delighted to have joined BDP, an international practice at the forefront of designing people-centered progressive and sustainable places and communities of the future.”

Nick Fairham, chief executive of BDP and lead architect director of the Bristol studio, added: “We would like to extend a big welcome to Adam Darby. It’s brilliant to have him on board, bringing with him significant expertise and experience in the wider residential sector, particularly build-to-rent.”

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