People on the Move: McAlister Family Law; Hillcrest Homes; Progress to Excellence; Zedra; M247

Anna Rooney and Aaron Williams

Family law firm McAlister has further strengthened its team of divorce and finance experts with the appointment two new assistant solicitors.

Joining the firm, which has offices in Manchester city centre and throughout Cheshire and is ranked in the latest edition of the Legal 500, are Anna Rooney, based in the firm’s Alderley Edge offices, and Aaron Williams, based in Manchester.

Anna comes to McAlister Family Law from Slater and Gordon Lawyers, where she held a variety of roles which involved working with members of various trades unions, including the Police Federation, where she would advise on a variety of legal areas from family to consumer to employment and also working with the Court of Protection.

She has also worked for the Greater Manchester Police Force in the legal department.

In her new role Anna will work across all areas of family law. She is particularly interested in in divorce and matrimonial finances, specifically those complex matters that involve properties abroad and/or business interests.

“I’m delighted to join such a forward-thinking firm,” she said.

“Amanda McAlister is an inspirational leader and I am especially pleased to be based in Alderley Edge, a well-known location in the very nucleus of the Cheshire community that makes ideally placed to serve the people of the county.”

Aaron Williams, who worked previously at North Wales family law firm, Bennett Smith Solicitors, will be based in McAlister Family Law’s Manchester offices.

“Family Law attracted me at the very outset of my career in the legal industry,” he said, “and with McAlister Family Law I was also drawn to the firm by the sheer quality of the people who make up such a dynamic team, as well as being excited by the swift growth and development of the business in such a short space of time.

“This is a firm that is a game-changer and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Amanda McAlister, managing director, said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Anna and Aaron on board. Both bring enthusiasm and talent in spades, and both are dedicated to delivering a service to our clients that vastly exceeds their expectations.

“From our inception less than two years ago we set our sights on being the UK’s ‘go to’ authority on all family law matters, with a mission to provide expert advice and guidance to clients within a framework of empathy and truthfulness.

“Anna and Aaron’s skills and experience complement our already extensive family law offering. They’re a great addition to the team.”

McAlister Family Law is part of Beyond Professional Services Group.


Berit Rose has joined luxury homebuilder Hillcrest Homes as development director.

Berit was formerly an associate director within the Northern development team at Savills where she handled the disposal and acquisition of development land on behalf of landowner clients and housebuilders.

She has extensive experience of large residential-led, mixed-use development projects as well as the promotion of strategic land opportunities and land assembly.

As development director at Manchester-based Hillcrest Homes, the luxury homebuilding business within the Nikal Group, Berit will lead on existing projects as well as source new development sites and joint venture opportunities across the North West and West Midlands.

Berit Rose

Hillcrest managing director, James Payne, said: “We were introduced to Berit a few years ago and were enormously impressed by her enthusiasm, efficiency and professionalism. She skilfully orchestrated a highly complex land deal which left every party involved satisfied that their individual requirements had been fulfilled.

“She joins us at a critical time in our growth. We have over 300 homes in the immediate pipeline and are actively looking to secure further opportunities.

“Berit’s expertise is exactly what is needed to fulfil our ambitions. She knows what is required to get a deal done that works for all parties, and we have first-hand experience of this.”


Following a period of significant growth over the past 12 months, Progress to Excellence Group, the parent company of a number of education and training businesses, has appointed Jayne Worthington as deputy group chief executive.

Jayne will join the Birkenhead-based company in September 2019 and will work closely with the group managing director, Sandra Kirkham, to drive out the company’s key strategic objectives, while supporting the continued growth of the group.

With more than 14 years’ experience of working in senior management roles, Jayne joins the business from The Growth Company: Education and Skills, bringing with her a wealth of experience relating to pre-apprenticeships, apprenticeship training and higher education.

Jayne also has experience of adult skills training, which complements the existing education and training companies within the group.

Jayne Worthington

Sandra Kirkham said: “Having grown significantly over the past few years, now is the time to make this appointment to support, not only our continued growth, but also to lead on the operational strategy of the group.

“Jayne’s prior experience in the sector, and specifically adult education, makes her the perfect candidate. She not only understands the industry that we have worked in for over 20 years, but she also appreciates the challenges that the training and education industry can pose.”

Prior to working for The Growth Company, Jayne was assistant principal at City of Liverpool College Group, but also has worked for private training organisations as well as establishing her own social enterprise organisation.

Jayne said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be joining Progress to Excellence Group at this exciting time in their growth journey.

“It is rare to find a successful growing business who are so rooted in great values and who make such a positive social impact. I am really looking forward to working with the executive team to develop and deliver the strategy for the next phase of growth.”


Zedra, the rapidly-expanding global specialist in trust, corporate and fund services, has announced the appointment of Stuart McLuckie as its new UK onshore managing director. He will be based at the company’s Cheshire offices.

Having started his career in the UK trust industry and previously running the group’s key Swiss operations, Stuart is a specialist in the area of trusts and other wealth and succession planning solutions.

His brief in Cheshire will be to lead the expansion of Zedra’s onshore businesses, and with just under 20 years of industry experience, he is well placed to deliver this, said the business.

Stuart said: “Zedra is now firmly established as a key player in the domestic and international corporate services, trust and structuring sector.

“I am looking forward to directing the next phase of growth of the UK business, having successfully led the rapid expansion of our important Swiss offices and having started my career in the UK office.”

Stuart McLuckie

Ivo Hemelraad, group director, added: “Our focus is now on the concept of active wealth.

“By this, we mean families which have wealth and where the family wishes to employ it in an active way, whether that means investing it in their own businesses or properties or other asset classes.

“We are confident that with Stuart’s long track record of successfully developing our Swiss business he will be equally successful in the UK market.

“We feel there is now a huge untapped demand for agile companies such as Zedra to provide more innovative and flexible to solutions to the wealth management challenges faced by a global client base.”

Zedra recently announced that Corsair Capital, one of the longest-standing private equity firms focused on the financial services industry, has made a majority investment in the business.


Global provider of connectivity and cloud services, M247, has announced a significant change to its operating model with the appointment of both a UK and international managing director.

Kelly Simkiss has been appointed to managing director-UK, and Paul Pintiliescu to managing director-international to head up Manchester-based M247’s expansion globally.

Kelly Simkiss

The new roles will see both Simkiss and Pintiliescu oversee the end-to-end customer journey in their respective regions, reporting into chief executive Jenny Davies.

Kelly has been promoted from customer operations director. Prior to joining the organisation she spent five years at Manchester Airport Group as head of customer experience for Terminal 2, and then head of airport asset development.

Paul is based at M247’s Bucharest office and has been promoted from global director. He started his career with M247 in Manchester before moving to Romania to open the office in 2012.

M247 is currently experiencing an exciting period of growth and is making significant investment in its international points of presence (POPs), data centres and its own network infrastructure.

Last year saw the business rebrand as M247, double its footprint at Manchester Science Park and also open a new London office. The company now employs more than 270 people in Manchester, London and Bucharest.

Paul Pintiliescu

Kelly Simkiss said: “In such a crowded market it’s our focus on customer service that sets us apart. My new role will allow me to focus on the complete journey for our UK customers and ensure they continue to receive the high levels of service they’ve come to expect from us.”

Paul Pintiliescu said: “M247’s international growth has happened quickly as a result of increasing demand from our customers looking to expand globally. To support our customers as they grow we have expanded our plans for international POPs and we are also looking to launch hybrid cloud services in the region.

“My new appointment will enable us to continue to focus wholly on the customer experience and delivery and see M247 expand according to our customers’ international growth requirements.”

Chief executive Jenny Davies said: “I’m delighted to promote both Kelly and Paul to their new roles. Our customers are at the forefront of everything we do, so making these two appointments will enable the business to keep a firm eye on the needs of our customer base, both here and overseas.

“It also means that the business is focused and ready to deliver on growth plans and will ensure we continue to successfully deliver to customers based on their ever-changing requirements.”