People on the Move: UKFast; Buttress; Forbes Solicitors; Advanced; Forward Role

Catherine Greening
X The Business Desk

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Manchester cloud firm UKFast has appointed Catherine Greening to the role of chief financial officer as the firm embarks on an ambitious five-year growth plan.

The move comes as part of the expansion plans linked to the recent investment from Inflexion Private Equity announced by the hosting provider last month.

Greening, who joined UKFast five years ago as M&A director, played an important role in the recent deal with Inflexion alongside GCA Altium which saw UKFast valued at £405m.

Since joining in 2013, Greening has been closely involved in the development of UKFast and its related companies, including the acquisitions of penetration testing specialist, Pentest, and of public sector cloud and cybersecurity business Secure Information Assurance, now UKFast Public Sector.

With more than 18 years’ experience in the M&A and private equity industries prior to joining UKFast, qualified chartered accountant Greening has worked for heavyweights including PwC and mid-market private equity house, LDC.

She said: “As M&A director I was more focused on one-off projects designed to add value, such as the acquisition of S-IA.

“The move to CFO sees me far more involved in the day-to-day operations of UKFast, working more closely with the other directors to drive business performance.”

She added: “The timing wasn’t right at the end of 2018 for an IPO. However, with Inflexion as business partners that still remains a viable option for the future.

“I’m also excited to see how ClearCloud and Public Sector develop throughout 2019, with both having incredibly strong pipelines.”

UKFast chief executive Lawrence Jones said: “Since setting up UKFast nearly 20 years ago there have been some clear areas of investment and growth.

“Our plan for 2019 and beyond is to look at ways to capitalise on our investment. Catherine and her team are well placed to help us accelerate our growth. I am hugely excited by the future, particularly the wealth of opportunities we uncovered during our due diligence.”

UKFast has a customer base of 5,500 UK SME clients and 200 mid-sized companies, which are served by UKFast’s 350 employees across its Manchester campus, London sales office and data centres.


Manchester architectural studio Buttress has added to its senior team with the appointment of Matthew Burl as an associate director.

Matthew will be responsible for the strategic development of the practice’s education team. He will also lead on higher education and independent schools projects.

Matthew joins Buttress after three and a half years at the Manchester office of Hawkins\Brown.

Matthew Burl

Previously, he spent 14 years at John McAslan + Partners where he helped establish the practice’s Manchester studio.

At Hawkins\Brown he was involved in a number of significant higher education projects including, Leeds Beckett University’s Creative Arts Building, the new student centre and university squares at UCLan, and the Schuster Annexe for the University of Manchester.

Managing director, Gavin Sorby, said: “Matthew is a skilled designer with an exceptional track record in the delivery of new-build, refurbishment and strategic masterplans, both regionally and internationally.

“His previous experience and in-depth knowledge of the higher education sector will be invaluable to the growth of our team and we are delighted to welcome him on board.”


North West legal firm Forbes Solicitors has promoted housing specialist Lucie Cocker to the position of partner.

Lucie, who was previously an associate solicitor in the firm’s housing and regeneration team, works with registered providers across the country.

She has a wealth of litigation and advisory experience in relation to all aspects of property litigation and housing management.

Lucie is particularly passionate about advocacy, especially trial advocacy, and is an experienced Higher Court Advocate.

She deals with all types of hearings from initial injunction/possession applications through to trials and appeals. Lucie also regularly appears in the First-tier Tribunal (Property Chamber).

Lucie Cocker

Lucie, who is based in Chorley, said: “I am delighted to accept the role of partner. It is great to be part of such a dedicated team, which is passionate about the housing sector and delivering an excellent client service.”

Stuart Penswick, partner and head of housing and regeneration (litigation), said: “Lucie demonstrates a true passion and commitment to her work and has a reputation for being tenacious, extremely technically competent and fearless in court.

“She is also renowned for giving advice in a user-friendly manner so it is understandable to everyone. We are delighted that she will be a key part of our future here at Forbes.”


British software and services provider, Advanced, has appointed Amanda Grant as product strategy director, further strengthening the company’s leadership team to deliver disruptive and innovative solutions to UK’s businesses.

The firm has regional hubs in the North West, South East, Birmingham, and Leeds.

Amanda will report directly into Advanced’s chief executive, Gordon Wilson, and work closely with chief technology officer, Jon Wrennall.

She will also sit on the operations board and be instrumental in developing and delivering an innovative product roadmap that embraces the opportunities the Cloud and emerging technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, offer to Advanced customers.

Jon Wrennall said: “Amanda’s energy and dedication to customer-centric change management will be a vital addition to our operations board and broader product team. The pace of change we’re witnessing across the markets we operate within requires in-depth knowledge to ensure we utilise new technologies strategically for long-term benefits to both the business and our customers.

Amanda Grant

“Amanda will have specific responsibility for developing our product roadmap and its strategic direction in all markets and ensuring we invest in the products and technologies that will enable us to realise our growth ambitions.

“As a firm committed to promoting equality, Amanda represents the third female member of the advanced operations board.”

Amanda said: “There’s a big opportunity for British businesses to embrace digital technology to transform productivity, intelligence and innovation.

“I’m excited to be working closely with Jon to drive forward the direction of our technology platform and optimise our innovative R&D facility so that we can deliver a product roadmap that drives value in every part of our customers’ organisations, and ensure Advanced remains competitive by delivering the very best solutions to the market.”


Marketing, digital and technology recruitment practice Forward Role has boosted its award-winning team with the appointment of Richard Jones.

Richard joins as executive search director for the FR Executive brand.

With more than 20 years’ of executive search experience internationally, as a strategy and transformation recruiter and a successful track record of leading and delivering global campaigns, Richard’s remit will be to continue the rapid growth of the FR Executive technology division.

Richard will join Forward Role directors Steve Thompson and Brian Johnson in building the FR Executive offering, which works nationally across high growth sectors such as retail, eCommerce, technology and FinTech, with clients ranging from FTSE 100 businesses to private equity and venture capital backed scale ups.

Richard Jones

Forward Role founder Steve Thompson said: “We’re delighted to welcome Richard into the business. He brings to the table an enviable network of talent and blue chip contacts in the technology and transformation space.

“His drive and passion for delivering world class talent fits perfectly with our company culture.”

Joining Richard at Forward Role’s Manchester head office are three new recruitment consultants to the Forward Role brand.

Grant Dove is a recent addition to the businesses technology department, heading up Java recruitment. Luke Finney will boost the contract function as an ERP consultant and Charlotte Callaghan joins the London digital team.

The new hires take the Forward Role team to 35, which the compamy says makes it the largest specialist marketing and digital recruiter in the North of England and a major player on the UK recruitment scene.