People on the move: McAlister Family Law; Pesto Restaurants; Blacks Business Brokers; Equity Housing Group

Charlotte Percy

Expansion continues apace at Manchster-based McAlister Family Law with the appointment of experienced family law solicitor Charlotte Percy as associate.

Formerly an associate at Slater & Gordon, Percy has more than seven years expertise acting for clients on a variety of family law matters including divorce and the associated financial settlements, disputes involving cohabitants and arrangements for children.

Her approach and commitment to achieving results have caught the eye of the legal community and she has been recognised for her work on many occasions, being shortlisted for Rising Star of the Year, Mentor of the Year and previously Trainee Solicitor of the Year.

Only last month, she made the Northern Power Women shortlist and will go forward for a prestigious Future Women ‘Agent of Change’ award which will be announced in March.

Passionate about charity and the Manchester community, Percy also gives up her time to support worthy local and international causes.

She is a trustee of Helping Uganda Schools (HUG) which aims to reduce poverty in Uganda through education and is an ambassador for Forever Manchester working with the team to raise funds to make a positive change in the neighbourhoods across Greater Manchester.

After graduating from Lancaster with a law degree and gaining a distinction from the College of Law in Manchester, she has remained active in the legal community and now chairs the Manchester Young Solicitors Group and sits on the council of the Manchester Law Society.

Her appointment perfectly complements the fast growing team that is currently being hand selected by managing partner and founder of McAlister Family Law, Amanda McAlister.

McAlister said: “Charlotte is a dynamic, energetic and proactive family lawyer who works tirelessly to provide an exceptional service for her clients. I’m delighted that she’s chosen to join us and am confident that she will enhance our impressive team.”

Percy said: “Amanda’s vision to create a boutique family law practice that could offer a personal service right across the UK was definitely something that I wanted to be a part of. McAlister Family Law is already setting new standards in the industry and fast becoming the ‘go to’ practice for family law nationally.”


Manchester-headquartered Italian restaurants group Pesto Restaurants has appointed Darren Traynor as its new operations director.

The married father-of-two has arrived at the company from his previous role as operations manager at Greene King, where he spent two years.

Traynor has more than 28 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, having started his career running his own bars and late-night venues in Wigan.

He then joined Luminar Leisure and quickly rose through the ranks to his first senior operations role when he was 30.

Previous career highlights include head of operations for The Living Room Bar and Restaurants, operations director for The Orchid Group and divisional director at Premium Bars and Restaurants.

He said: “Pesto has already built a fantastic restaurant business and my focus will be to a work with the team to evolve and develop the brand to create a people-focused culture and deliver industry leading food, hospitality and future growth.”


Blacks Business Brokers, the national business transfer specialist headquartered in Bury, has made a number of key hires.

The new recruits will help support the delivery of its business plan as Blacks builds up its corporate business and develops its recently launched specialist childcare division, Abacus Day Nursery Sales.

Blacks has appointed Chelsea Melnyk as client care Executive, a role in which she will focus in particular on expanding the Abacus Day Nursery Sales arm of the business.

The other new recruits are sales operation co-ordinator Ian Ratcliffe, inside sales executives Leonie Duffy, Fionn Fallon and Jayke Patton, operations assistant Callum Pollard and business development executive Tre James.
Chris Rowlands, managing director of Blacks Business Brokers, said, “We are really pleased to welcome Chelsea, Ian, Leonie, Fionn, Jayke, Callum and Tre on board.

“We have had a really strong start to the year already, with some great completions and double the number of viewings in the first week of January compared to the same period in 2017, and we have some really ambitious plans for the rest of 2018.”

“I am sure that each of our new team members will play a key role in our growth during the rest of the year and beyond. They won’t be the last people to join us this year, either, as we have further recruitment drives planned for later in 2018.”


Carlisle-headquartered Armstrong Watson Accounts, Business and Financial Advisers has unveiled Mike Kienlen as its new chairman.

Kienlen is a partner in Armstrong Watson’s restructuring recovery and insolvency service line and has worked for the firm for 13 years, based at its Leeds office.

As chairman, he will support chief executive Paul Dickson with the leadership and strategic positioning of the firm both internally and externally, focusing on business development and increasing Armstrong Watson’s presence in the Yorkshire region as well as throughout the North of England and Scotland.

Kienlen has more than 28 years’ experience working in insolvency, beginning his career as an insolvency Junior in London.

He said: “The next five to 10 years are going to see huge technological and cultural transitions both within Armstrong Watson and the outside market.

“We are extremely focused on the speed of change in the industry and to be a figurehead alongside Paul, to see us through these times, is a real honour.

Dickson added: “Mike and I have served on the executive team of Armstrong Watson together for the past 10 years and have seen the firm progress significantly.”


Equity Housing Group, headquartered in Cheadle, Greater Manchester, has made a raft of new recruits across its executive leadership Team, following the appointment of Collette King as chief executive in 2016.

Primarily focused in the North West, Equity delivers new affordable housing for the communities where they operate and enables more people to access home ownership.

It markets itself as a socially conscious business, helping grow the capacity of communities where they operate by investing in projects delivering social value.

Coming on board as Chief Executive in October 2016 to redevelop Equity Housing Group’s strategic direction, Collette previously worked for First Ark Group where she was Executive Director of Business Transformation.

Joining King as part of Equity Housing Group’s executive leadership team, is Andy Oldale as strategic sirector for xorporate services; and Phil Webster as strategic director for customer experience.