People on the Move: University of Chester; Cunning Plan; Big Partnership; EKM; Colliers International

Prof Chris Jones

A business professional with extensive experience of both academia and working in private enterprise has been appointed Executive Dean of the University of Chester Business School.

Prof Chris Jones has held numerous senior academic management roles as well as being employed by a major multinational company and managing his own SME.

He began his career with several prominent roles at Unilever before setting up his own clothing company, giving him an invaluable insight into the challenges of both global and small businesses.

Moving into academia, he was recently professor and head of the North Wales Business School at Wrexham Glyndŵr University and professor and director of the Falmouth Business School at Falmouth University.

In all his roles, Prof Jones has developed strong links with industry partners such as the Duchy of Cornwall Estate, Samworth Bros, The Rick Stein Group, Nooli UK, Headforwards and Halto.

He has also worked extensively on developing new academic programmes around the themes of employability, entrepreneurship and future trends.

At Falmouth University, he led the creation of new degree courses which enabled students to “do it for real” by developing their own businesses as part of their studies.

He has also played a key role in working with international partner colleges for business in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia.

He said: “This is a really exciting time for the University of Chester’s Business School. Not only have we recently been shortlisted for the Business School of the Year award in the prestigious Times Higher Education awards, we have also risen seven per cent in overall satisfaction in the National Student Survey.

“I’m extremely proud to be working with such a dedicated and talented team as we aim even higher in our achievements.”


Manchester marketing agency Cunning Plan has added to its team with the hire of Simon Myatt as senior account manager.

The appointment comes on the back of two new business wins for the agency: Energizer Mobile and Orbital Education.

Simon Myatt

He joined the agency at the beginning of September from ATOM Marketing where he worked on Pan European accounts for clients such as Epson, Papa John’s, Sony Pictures and Chiquita bananas.

His other agency experience includes TBWA/Manchester and Cheadle-based Fresh, where he worked with a number of high-profile clients including Wickes, Jessops, BP, Barclays and Makro.

He said: “Cunning Plan is a fantastic creative agency, producing great work for its clients. The opportunity to join the team as a senior account manager and help to shape the future of the agency was the perfect move for me.”

Managing director James Adam added: “Simon is an award-winning marketer with some top-notch experience. He will strengthen our team and bring valuable skills and expertise that will help to develop our junior team members as well as aid our future expansion plans.”


PR and marketing agency Big Partnership has appointed three new members to its Manchester team to support its business growth in the North West.

The trio of new appointments includes social media manager Stephen Slavin, who will be responsible for extending Big’s award-winning digital expertise to its North West client base.

Stephen, who joins from One, will lead on digital strategy and campaign management for new and existing clients, having previously worked with national brands such as Hoover, Gorilla Glue, Pet Choice and Moduleo.

Senior account manager Alex Wignall has also joined from Altrincham-based integrated agency RMS.

Alex has extensive experience developing B2B PR strategies for clients across a range of sectors, including professional services, property and the built environment.

Completing the hat-trick of new hires is account manager Ellie Reid, from London-based financial and corporate communications agency Camarco.

Sarah Lawless, associate director and head of Big’s Manchester office, said: “Our team is growing all the time and we’re really excited about the contribution that each of our new colleagues is going to bring to Big in Manchester.

“We’re working with some amazing clients and making great progress on our plans in the city, and bringing in talented people is absolutely central to that success.

“Winning more integrated accounts, which combine digital, marketing, design and PR, will be a key growth area for the business over the next 12 months.

“Stephen, Alex and Ellie have hit the ground running with our existing clients, who are already seeing the benefits of their combined expertise.”

Big Partnership celebrated its most successful year in the 12 months to June 2018, growing turnover to £8.8m in the year, and profit to £1.4m.

Big’s Manchester office has doubled profits in the past year after new wins including packaging enhancement specialist API Group, planning consultancy Turley, and an expanded remit with legal firm Addleshaw Goddard to support its Manchester and Leeds offices.

The integrated agency employs more than 100 people across PR, marketing, digital, design and events.


Preston-based e-commerce website provider EKM has appointed Mike Croft as PPC (pay per click) account manager to advise customers on how to get the best value from Google advertising for their online shops.

Mike Croft

Established in 2002, EKM says it was the first cloud-based e-commerce platform in the UK.

Today it employs more than 80 at a single site in Preston and is still the UK’s biggest, having helped set-up more than 70,000 online shops worldwide.

On his new role Mike said: “It’s really exciting to be joining EKM.

“Everyone is really passionate about ensuring customers get the greatest success from their businesses.

“As well as providing hands-on advice for customers, we also develop a lot of online content that’s free for anyone to use.

“Unlike some of our US competitors, EKM provides all our customers with a dedicated account manager, so we really get to know and understand them, and it feels more like we’re on a business journey together.”


Colliers International has appointed Damian Gee as director and head of business space lease advisory for the North.

Previously a director at LSH in Manchester, Damian has spent more than 16 years providing advice on the full spectrum of business space lease advisory matters to clients including Royal Mail, Harworth Estates and ITV.

Damian Gee

Based in the Manchester office of Colliers, Damien will work across Colliers’ offices in Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield to drive the department’s Northern growth strategy, offering specialist advice to a range of clients.

Chris Ridgway, head of business space lease advisory for Colliers International, said: “I’m delighted that someone with Damian’s reputation, expertise and credibility has decided to join us. This appointment will allow us to provide an excellent level of service at a senior level across the North.”

Damian added: “I have worked in Manchester and across the North for over 16 years. It is this in-depth knowledge of the local market and specialist advice that will allow me to deliver excellent results for our clients.

“Colliers is an exciting business, committed to further developing the business space lease advisory offer for clients across the Northern Powerhouse markets.”