Reena Pithwa has been brought in to head up a new Midlands relationship management division at Allica Bank, where she will help launch its direct-to-SMEs banking offering.
The appointment is part of Allica’s mission to ‘bring back the local relationship manager’ for established SMEs – a group it says often misses out on personal service from someone with a good knowledge of local areas and SME lending needs.
Ms Pithwa, who is from Leicester, has more than 23 years’ experience supporting SMEs, mostly through high street bank lending.
She said: “Business owners want to speak to someone at their bank that knows their local area – someone that can provide insight tailored specifically to them.
“I want to be the person every ambitious Midlands SME calls when they need finance.
“Our region’s businesses are looking to recoup lost business and to stay sustainable.
“I am keen to speak to firms that are looking to invest in growth – such as by releasing capital in their property, or financing new assets.”
Allica Bank has seen strong growth in lending in the last year and plans to offer £500 million in committed SME loan offers this year.
Loughborough University’s executive director of sport will become the next chair of the Commonwealth Games England Board.
John Steele – a former athlete and European Cup winning rugby coach with Northampton Saints – will succeed Ian Metcalfe to chair the organisation in the autumn of 2022.
Mr Metcalfe’s eight-year term of office will conclude after the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games, and Mr Steele – who will continue with his university duties – will help lead the board into the 2026 Commonwealth cycle.
Commonwealth Games England runs Team England, working with domestic governing bodies, Sport England and the games’ organising committee.
Mr Steele has managed a number of private and public sector and not-for-profit sports bodies in the past, and held leadership roles at the Olympic and Paralympic games.
He recently finished his second term chairing the English Institute of Sport.
He said: “These are exciting times for Commonwealth sport. Next year’s home games in Birmingham are an opportunity to not only provide an amazing experience for everyone involved, but also play an important part in the recovery of the nation, after what will have been a very challenging couple of years.
“It is very exciting to be able to contribute to the next chapter.”
Rena Magdani, who works in Freeth’s Leicester office, has been made the new national head of employment, pensions and immigration at the law firm.
The move follows the promotion of the previous head, Julian Middleton, to deputy chairman of the business.
The national team which she now heads has 40 legal professionals located across England, working with FTSE multinationals, owner-managed businesses, SMEs, charities and public sector organisations.
Ms Magdani said: “It’s a privilege to lead our team of talented, commercially-minded lawyers, who put excellent client service at the centre of everything they do.
“I’m looking forward to the continued growth and success of the team by recruiting and developing the best lawyers across our 12 offices.”
Julian Middleton said: “The team is in a really strong position, with a first class client list – many of whom have been with us for the long term – and I am delighted that someone of Rena’s calibre is picking up the reins.
“I am sure she will oversee the continued growth and significant success of our group of talented and dynamic lawyers.”
Online watch shop WatchPilot has expanded its Nottingham head office by welcoming Nicolas Hawke as head of creative.
He brings more than 25 years of creative experience to the role and previously spent 12 years at Time Products, where he was creative manager.
He said: “The great thing about this role is that every day is different – one day, I can be creating content for a social media campaign and, the next day, I could be art directing a studio film shoot.
“Throughout all our content, I ensure that brand guidelines are always followed which helps to build and maintain a strong brand.
“At WatchPilot, it’s exciting to be part of something new.
“I love working with WatchPilot’s founders, Tim and Akbar, as their enthusiasm and passion for watches is at the heart of the business, and it is fantastic to be part of it.”
An independent financial adviser has appointed a new head of mortgages.
Nicki Thomas has joined Leicester-based Furnley House from Santander, where she was mortgage business manager.
She has more than 25 years of expertise as a mortgage specialist having previously held roles at Alliance and Leicester, Britannia Building Society, Skipton and NatWest.
Company founder Neil Haley said Furnley House had witnessed increased demand for its mortgage services during lockdown and the appointment was part of a significant investment in the mortgage department.
Mr Haley said: “Ultimately our aim is to become Leicestershire’s premier mortgage adviser.
“Nicki’s appointment is another major step towards us achieving that goal.
“In the past we have viewed ourselves primarily as an independent financial adviser that also offered mortgage advice.
“But as demand has increased over the past twelve months it has become abundantly clear that our clients increasingly want mortgage advice too and we have decided to make it a more central part of our offering.
Ms Thomas said: “I’m delighted to have joined Furnley House. I have known the founder for many years and have watched their progress with enthusiasm.
“The team have built a business with real values; a business that truly believes in itself and its ability to deliver real benefits to both its clients and the wider community.
“I wanted to be part of that movement and I share their vision of what this business can become.”
Aristotle Financial Planning:
A Derby financial advisor who set up his own company at the start of the pandemic has appointed his first member of staff.
James Wallis, founder of Aristotle Financial Planning, said the appointment of Gemma Bailey was a significant step for the business, which he launched last April.
Ms Bailey has joined as client support technician, handling much of the day-to-day business administration for clients, who mainly consist of families whose members are approaching retirement age or who run their own businesses.
Mr Wallis, who had 10 years’ experience as an independent and chartered financial planner before setting up Aristotle, said: “Taking on an employee feels like a really big step bearing in mind it’s only been me up to now, but I am very happy to welcome Gemma to Aristotle Financial Planning.
“Gemma has many years’ experience in the financial industry and her previous role was as a paraplanner, so she is more than capable of giving me the long overdue assistance that we need with the day-to-day tasks so that I can focus on growing the business.
“Setting up a company during a pandemic was a challenge and I’m very pleased to be able to make my first of what I hope will be many more appointments just before the end of my first year in business.”
Ms Bailey said: “The values of the company, James’ approach to financial planning, along with his vision for the future are what made this role so appealing.
“I’m looking forward to working for James as he continues to develop his business.”
East Midlands-based business energy and water supplier Yü Energy has expanded its team with 15 new hires.
Roles have been created across the business including in its sales and marketing team, new management positions and in its customer care team.
Among them are new relationship manager Curtis Avery who has 12 years’ experience in the energy sector.
Marketing executive Daniel Coe also joins the team having previously worked as a marketing executive in both the consumer and business-to-business sectors.
Joining the growing customer care team is relationship manager Zaaminah Roberts, who has experience in customer management.
Group human resources director Navaz Dean said: “We are very excited to welcome all of our new team members to the business.
“As Yü Energy continues to grow and innovate, we’re looking forward to incorporating their wealth of experience within their given teams, as well as working with the new joiners to help progress their careers and deepen their knowledge in the energy industry.”
Yü Energy supplies gas, electricity and water to 18,000 businesses across the UK and employs more than 120 people across Nottingham and Leicester.
Nottinghamshire-based fire and security system installation and maintenance specialists Tecserv UK has appointed Steven Carruthers as a system sales executive.
Mr Carruthers, who lives in Hucknall, is a qualified electrician with more than 20 years’ experience as a fire and security system engineer.
He joins the Underwood business having spent the last 13 years working as a system sales account manager for another UK wide commercial fire and security company.
He will work directly for clients, fire and security consultants, electrical contractors and facilities managers to provide quotes to install new fire alarms, CCTV systems, intruder alarms and access control systems as well as provide advice when systems need upgrading.
He said: “I have crossed paths with people from Tecserv UK on numerous occasions over the years and I very much respected their consultative approach and their commitment to ensuring people, processes and property are protected.
“When I decided I needed a new challenge I knew Tecserv UK would be a great place to continue my career and I am really excited about joining such a well-respected company.”
Tecserv UK was founded by chief executive Grahame Tilley 20 years ago. It employs more than 50 head office staff and field based service engineers who install and maintain fire and security systems for a wide variety of SMEs.
The company also specialises in the hotel, retail, warehousing, care home and education sectors and clients include M&S, The Ritz Hotel, The Bulgari Hotel, Harvey Nichols, Britvic, and B&Q.
Nottingham College has brought in a new director to lead its apprenticeships and employer services.
Lisa Wilson joins the college – the biggest further education provider in Nottingham, and one of the biggest in the country – with a track record in developing and establishing apprenticeships and training solutions for businesses across a range of sectors.
She said: “This is an exciting time to be joining Nottingham College, and I am both thrilled and honoured to have this opportunity, at a time when apprenticeships and skills for our local and regional employers will be key to ‘building back better’ following the impact of Covid-19.”
She joins Nottingham College from RNN Group, where she was director of apprenticeships, overseeing the training of more than 11,000 people a year, including 2,000 apprentices, predominantly in the North Notts and South Yorkshire region.