People on the move: Napthens; Browne Jacobson; Grant Thornton; IoD; Roberts Jackson

Wendy Keely

Corporate solicitor Wendy Keely has joined Napthens in its Preston office as it continues to expand its corporate team.

Keely joins Napthens following time with a law firm specialising in the transport sector and eight years with Manchester-based Brabners.

She is an experienced corporate and commercial solicitor and advises clients on a range of matters including business sales and purchases, joint ventures and commercial contracts.

Keely has gained particular expertise in relation to clients in the transport sector, especially in relation to service, hire and subcontractor agreements.

In her new role at Napthens, Keely will advise on a full range of corporate issues.

Rob Dobson, partner in the Corporate team at Napthens, said: “The Lancashire business community continues to remain strong and we are seeing a lot of activity with sales, mergers and acquisitions continuing to take place.

“We are in the fortunate position of needing to expand the team to keep up with continuing demand from clients.

“Wendy will be a great addition to the team, and brings a wealth of experience in both the transport sector and corporate law in general.”


Browne Jacobson is continuing its expansion in the North West with the appointment of lawyer Viki Shaw into its Manchester real estate practice.

Shaw joins from Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council where she specialised in strategic housing matters, academy conversions and the social care sector.

Browne Jacobson says the appointment is a reflection of the firm’s continued development of its work in the property sector and supports the firm’s commitment to grow its Manchester office.

Shaw will be part of a 50-strong national property practice which has extensive experience in complex transactional work and delivering major projects across the country, including ground breaking regeneration projects and major mixed use schemes.

The firm’s Manchester real estate practice, headed by Dominic Buckley and Victoria Thourgood, has recently advised YHA (England and Wales) on the refinancing of ita entire portfolio and the development of a world class flagship Youth Hostel at the former Olympic Park site; the Homes and Communities Agency on a £200m mixed use scheme at Northfleet Embankment in Dartford; and Manchester based Renold Plc on all their property work.

Buckley said: “Viki will be a great addition to our expanding Manchester team, allowing us to really boost our real estate experience in the North West.

“She has extensive experience in our target sectors which will suit the needs of both our clients and prospective clients in the region and throughout the UK.”


Business advisory firm Grant Thornton has announced a raft of strategic senior hires and promotions in its Manchester office, building on the appointment of three new partners earlier in the year.

Paul Wilson has been appointed as VAT Director in the Manchester office, joining from PwC where he worked for three years.

During his 20-year career – all of which has been spent focusing on VAT – Wilson has worked in London, New Zealand and Manchester.

He has experience with a range of clients, from FTSE 100 companies to growing owner-managed businesses, and brings strong sector experience in industrial, real estate and private healthcare markets.

Andrew Smith has joined as a director in the public sector audit team. Hired from KPMG, where he spent 12 years, Smith delivered external audit, and internal audit and assurance services for a range of NHS trusts and large local authorities, including one of the biggest city councils in the country.

Asker Ali has been promoted to director within the international tax team following a record year that has seen the team’s headcount and billing more than double.

As head of transfer pricing for the North and Midlands, he has particular expertise in transfer pricing and a comprehensive understanding of the shifting regulatory landscape relating to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS), which is increasingly relevant to an international client base.

Karen Campbell-Williams, partner and North West Head of Tax at Grant Thornton added: “Welcoming three new partners to the firm in the North West was a major signal of intent. Our plan was always to secure those appointments and then to build on that with strategic hires in growth sectors, and internal promotions to reward our best and brightest.

“Paul and Andrew bring complementary experience to their respective teams, which will allow us to diversify our offering to clients and strengthen our position in the regional marketplace, and I’m delighted to welcome them to the firm.”


The Institute of Directors has announced that Claire Ebrey has taken on the role of North West regional director.

A marketing, CSR and member-engagement professional, Ebrey moves to the IoD’s base in Manchester from The Co-op where she was responsible for CSR, stakeholder outreach and co-operative business development.

Outlining her new position, Ebrey said: “I’ve taken on the role at such an exciting time for the organisation; we’ve announced a new branch chair in Cheshire and are recruiting in Liverpool, and this week we launched our new IoD Advance membership programme, bringing more benefits and connectivity to IoD members outside of London for the first time.

“It’s a fantastic prospect to be at the helm of that – and to be reaching out to our members as they navigate uncertain commercial territory thanks to looming macro economical and political changes such as BREXIT. I look forward to developing the IoD member offer, and working with the region’s business leaders as we chart our course.”

Stephen Martin, director general at the IoD: “We are very pleased to have Claire join the team. Her experience will help guide our members in the North West during this pivotal time for business as we work with the Government to make sure the Northern Powerhouse initiative delivers on its promise. I am confident Claire will be a great champion of professional development and provide members with the support they need.”


Catherine Dent is celebrating the completion of her pupillage and becoming the first in-house barrister at Wilmslow industrial disease specialists, Roberts Jackson.

The firm launched the pupillage in October 2015 in partnership with leading Barristers’ Chambers, St John’s Buildings.

Roberts Jackson claims a reputation for innovation and this step was the brainchild of CEO Karen Jackson.

She said: “At Roberts Jackson our priority is obtaining justice for people who have become ill as a consequence of industrial disease.

“Following Catherine’s experience at one of the leading Chambers in the UK, she brings a new and valuable skillset to our specialist industrial disease solicitors.”

Dent said: “I was extremely fortunate to have benefitted from such a knowledgeable and experienced pupil master. I am looking forward to putting the skills I have learned into practice at Roberts Jackson.”

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