People on the Move: Grant Thornton; Dept; KPMG; Accounts Lab; Suresite

Neil Robinson

Business advisory firm Grant Thornton has appointed a new partner to its busy North West transaction advisory service (TAS), with the hire of Neil Robinson.

Neil joins from Mazars, where he has spent seven years and was partner and founder of its Northern transaction services team.

At Grant Thornton he will work closely with existing TAS partner Philip Grindley and the award-winning team.

Originally from Sale, Greater Manchester, Neil, a graduate from the University of Cambridge, has spent all his career so far working in Manchester.

The 40-year-old joined PwC in 2000, where he spent 11 years before moving to Mazars. He was promoted to partner there in 2015.

He said: “I am delighted to join Grant Thornton and see a really fantastic opportunity to build on the great foundations already in place and grow the transactions advisory team further, particularly with the private equity community in the North.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Philip Grindley and really challenge the Big 4 in the market place. Grant Thornton has such a strong brand in the business and PE community I am confident we can achieve great things.”

Carl Williams, Grant Thornton’s North West managing partner, said: “We are delighted to welcome Neil to the firm. He has an outstanding reputation in the corporate finance market place and his knowledge of, and contacts in, the PE community will be a considerable benefit to the TAS team.”


As part of its continued growth, international digital agency Dept has announced that Dimi Albers will lead the role of global chief executive officer.

This is a new and pivotal position overseeing Dept’s rapid expansion across the globe.

Over the past 12 years Dimi has taken on various roles in the agency including founding its Amsterdam office in 2011 and undertaking daily management with Frank Schmid of Dept’s founding agency TamTam in 2015.

Frank will be working alongside Dimi in the role of chief operating officer.

Dimi Albers

Paul Manuel, chairman of Dept’s board, said: “Dimi is one of a kind. He has a deep understanding of our market and a huge drive to serve our clients in the best way possible. Having been with our agency for over 12 years, he represents both our culture and driven nature.”

Dimi Albers said: “By giving clients access to specialised digital teams that combine data, creativity and technology, Dept is developing rapidly from its current position as a top-3 European player to a leading global digital agency.

“We firmly believe that our ‘new kind of agency’ approach can benefit brands immensely, as Dept clients receive an integrated one-stop-shop with simple structures, speed, clarity, and personal contact.”

It was a strong start to 2019 for Dept in the UK with the acquisition of e3creative , one of Manchester’s most successful digital agencies, cementing its UK headquarters in the city with a talented 140-strong team.

Managing director of Dept UK, Jasper van de Luijtgaarden, added: “2019 is an important year for Dept in the UK – we’re looking to expand and complete our service portfolio in order to provide our clients with full-service capabilities.

“We’ll be focusing on building the best agency in the country, enabling our clients to maximise the breadth of our integrated service offering to accelerate their digital reality.”


Business advisory firm KPMG has bolstered its financial services audit practice with the appointment of Tom Tyler as a partner in Manchester.

Based at the firm’s St Peter’s Square office, Tom will use more than 15 years’ experience to further strengthen KPMG’s audit offering to the insurance sector, with a particular focus on the growing North West market.

Tom Tyler

Tom joins from PwC, where he specialised in delivering external audits and assurance to highly regulated financial services businesses.

His arrival follows the appointment of partners Richard Little and Simon Ryder as joint heads of KPMG’s financial services practice in the UK regions in October.

It also follows several other senior appointments for the firm at the tail end of 2018, including the promotion of five Manchester directors to partner and the appointment of new leads for KPMG’s North West technology, forensics, enterprise and value creation practices.

Tom Tyler said: “It’s an exciting time to join KPMG’s financial services team. The market in the North West is growing, underpinned by an innovative community of businesses setting out their stall in a challenging, crowded sector that’s traditionally associated with London.

“The region’s insurers are no exception, with new technology, changing demographics and the impact of expanding regulation presenting challenges and opportunities in equal measure. I look forward to working closely with companies as they navigate this environment.”

Nicola Quayle, office senior partner at KPMG in Manchester, added: “I’m confident Tom will make an excellent addition to the KPMG partnership and our growing team in St Peter’s Square.

“His experience working with the insurance and wider financial services sector, both in the North West and across the UK, will further expand the depth of specialist knowledge we have at our disposal in Manchester.”


Manchester and Leeds-based accountants and tax advisers Accounts Lab have appointed Kirsty Howitt as a director.

Kirsty joins from Hentons, a large independent firm, and has a background in dealing with owner-managed businesses offering advice across all aspects of financial reporting, forecasting and corporate tax planning.

Kirsty Howitt

She said: “I’m delighted to be joining the Accounts Lab team and helping build upon the fantastic success they have had in such a short period of time.

“Cloud-based accounting is the future, and with MTD on the horizon we are perfectly positioned to assist businesses and individuals in this new era of accountants advising on live data in real time.

“It’s fast-paced and it’s exciting to be a part of.”

Founding director of Accounts Lab, Edward Kirkby, added: “Kirsty’s skillset, work ethos and ambition is exactly what we look for at Accounts Lab and I’m delighted she has seen we are a great fit for her.

“Our client base is growing rapidly with start-ups, tech companies and forward-thinking SMEs recognising us as the go-to experts in cloud accounting, tax efficient fundraising and R&D tax claims.”


Martin Eastwood has joined Suresite as chief financial officer.

He brings more than 30 years’ international experience in strategy development, mergers & acquisitions, contract negotiation and financial reporting to the Preston-based retail services SME.

Martin’s previous roles have included UK finance director for EnServe Group, a Macclesfield-headquartered £100m revenue division of a private equity company providing infrastructure services to the utility sector.

Prior to that, he was vice president finance UK, Middle East and Asia Pacific for €130M offshore technology company Stork Technical Services, with responsibility for 19 separate legal entities.

Martin began his career as a graduate trainee with cable manufacturer and construction company BICC (now Balfour Beatty), rising to divisional financial controller and remaining with the company for more than a decade.

He will work a three-day week at Suresite.

Martin Eastwood

Martin said: “Suresite is a great company to work for, with some amazing people and services and I know I can really make my mark.

“I am looking to not only significantly grow the business, but also to develop its people. To me, these two things must always go hand-in-hand.”

Nick Healy, Suresite chief executive, said: “We are very lucky to have such a high calibre financial player on our team and I am very much looking forward to working alongside him.”

Suresite provides a number of services to retailers, including payment cad processing, wetstock management and H&S.