People on the Move: WestBridge; Brother UK; Vincents Solicitors; M247; Crossfield Group

From left: Guy Davies, Peter Barkley, Valerie Kendall

Private equity house WestBridge has appointed a new investment director to open its new Manchester office and lead investments across the North of England.

Peter Barkley joins WestBridge from Dow Schofield Watts, where he spent four years in the lead advisory team and where he supported WestBridge with its MBO of Stockport-based environmental consultancy APEM in March.

Barkley will work closely with the existing team to originate and execute new investments and support existing portfolio companies, including APEM, through to exit.

He said: “In recent years, my role has been to advise investors on the merits of a deal, but I’ve become increasingly keen to take a more active role in supporting the investee companies themselves.

“Joining WestBridge enables me to do just that, while also leveraging my regional knowledge and contacts.

“I advised WestBridge on the £15m MBO of APEM and have been impressed with their approach.

“The senior team are all experienced investors, who demonstrate sound judgement when selecting investee companies. They have a strong reputation and have realised some excellent returns.

“Having recently closed WestBridge II at £140m, it’s an exciting time to join. The business is committed to developing a lasting presence in the North and I am looking forward to leading this initiative.”

WestBridge, which already has offices in London and Cardiff, typically invests between £10-£20m into established, profitable and ambitious UK SMEs with enterprise values of between £15m and £40m.

Guy Davies, managing partner at WestBridge, said: “Regional markets and intermediaries are key to the success of our business. The North of England is an important market for us, which is why we now have an office in the heart of Manchester at Spinningfields.

“I’m looking forward to personally supporting Peter develop our presence in the North West, while my colleague James Wakefield will provide similar senior support in the North East.”

Valerie Kendall, founding partner at WestBridge, added: “We got to know Peter when he supported us on the APEM transaction, where he impressed us with his empathy and technical skills. He is a most welcome addition to our team.”


Tameside-based business technology solutions provider Brother UK has appointed a sustainable development coordinator to a new full-time role supporting customers that are working to reduce their environmental impact.

Gemmer Crozier will work with the firm’s partners and their respective customers to improve their knowledge of how Brother solutions and services can support a greener business, as well as raise awareness of Brother UK’s award-winning approach to sustainability.

She takes up the new post after originally joining Brother as an apprentice following her college studies.

The new role is central to Brother UK’s sustainability strategy, which this year saw it become the North West’s only business to receive an industry-leading independent certification for zero waste to landfill.

Gemmer Crozier

The position will also involve collaborating with Brother’s recycling facility in Ruabon, Wales, to encourage more of Brother UK’s business customers to use and recycle Brother print cartridges. In the year to March 2019, more than 145,000 toner cartridges were returned to Brother by UK customers free of charge, up three per cent on the previous 12 months.

Gemmer said: “Sustainability is part of Brother’s DNA. It’s the foundation on which we grow our business, while being a key consideration when developing new products and solutions.

“It’s fast becoming a necessary requirement for our partners’ common success too. We’ve supported some customers on tenders where up to 40% of the total score was owed to responsible business practices.”

Managing director Phil Jones said: “It’s fantastic to see one of former apprentices now spearheading this important work which benefits our channel partners and end users, whilst contributing to high level sustainable development goals.”


Lancashire’s Vincents Solicitors has recruited two experienced care work paralegals in its family law department.

Iram Amin and Beth Laws have joined the care team at Vincents in Preston from Lancashire County Council.

The pair have been brought in to provide support for the firm’s accredited Children Law Panel solicitors Val Shaw and Sarah Davis.

They will work across Vincents’ branch network, in particular at Chorley and Lytham following the recent decision to award the firm the Legal Aid contracts to support child care cases from those offices.

Both Iram and Beth have law degrees and are building up their experience with a view to seeking a training contract and specialising in family law.

Vincents’ care team provides legal support to families facing care proceedings, and works with clients and the authorities to find the best outcome for the child or children.

From left: Beth Laws, Val Shaw, Iram Amin

Val Shaw, head of care work at Vincents, said the new arrivals would help provide an improved service for clients: “With their legal training and experience of care cases from their time working for the local authority, Iram and Beth bring a new depth to our team.

“Child care cases are usually very fast moving and can often require urgent action. With our senior solicitors in court for much of the time, Iram and Beth will be able to progress cases and deal with enquiries immediately, providing support to the senior team and, crucially, helping clients quickly.”

She added: “Their arrival represents an expansion of the care team which has seen an upsurge in cases this year. We are also gearing up for an expected increase in Legal Aid cases from families in the Chorley and South Fylde areas after we recently won new contracts to provide that work locally.”

The family team expansion comes as part of a firm-wide recruitment strategy to attract, train and promote top quality legal professionals.

Phillip Gilmore, Vincents managing director, added: “We are looking to the future and want to ensure we have solicitors with the excellent personal qualities and the right approach to the role, alongside the relevant professional experience and qualifications, to help us to take this business onto the next level.”


M247, the global provider of cloud and connectivity services, has announced the double appointment of Mark Allen, cloud overlay specialist, and Steve Briant, sales director for the South.

Both roles will support M247’s five-year growth plan and vision to be the most innovative market leader in their sector by delivering fully resilient solutions to growing businesses.

The new roles have been created as a result of this year’s restructure, with sales and operations now sitting centrally under Kelly Simkiss, managing director UK, resulting in true visibility and accountability for the end-to-end customer journey.

Mark Allen

Steve will be managing and leading the London-based sales team, directly reporting to Simkiss for any aspects related to the Southern regions of the UK.

He will be assuming the same responsibilities as the North region headed by Andy Tatlock.

Prior to joining the Manchester-based organisation, Steve worked for telco, Alternative Networks, and provider of cloud computing services, Rackspace, and brings 17 years of sales experience to the role.

His wealth of knowledge and expertise will help drive M247’s cloud strategy, while instilling his customer-centric approach across the rest of his team.

Mark is based between both the London and Manchester offices, but will be spending most of his time at customer meetings discussing cloud solutions and customer requirements.

With more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry as a consultant he will be mentoring the internal team to identify customer needs and working with the operations team to ensure that the delivery of services is provided at an excellent standard.

Steve Briant

M247 is currently experiencing a rapid period of growth, 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 open a new London office. The company now employs more than 270 people in Manchester, London and Bucharest.

Jenny Davies, M247 chief executive, said: “I’m excited to welcome both Steve and Mark to the company, and have every confidence that their efforts will provide positive experiences for our customers.

“Throughout our business growth our focus is to create a world-class team with a genuine customer-centric approach to ensure M247 is the go-to provider for connectivity and cloud services. These two new appointments will contribute to this goal, adding value to our business success and customer journeys.”


Liverpool-based construction and development company, Crossfield Group, has strengthened its growing team with two high-profile appointments from major tier one contractors.

Former Wates commercial manager, Tom Dillon, will lead commercial operations across Crossfield Group, which has construction, living and development arms.

Tom Dillon

Meanwhile, Stuart Belfield has made the move from Willmott Dixon to become operations manager within Crossfield Living. He brings with him more than 30 years’ experience in the construction sector.

The addition of the two senior team members further continues Crossfield’s growth as a business. Since it was founded in 2012 by managing directors David Cain and John Paul Cassidy, Crossfield has grown to more than 50 staff and is projected to turn over £35m this year.

Like Dillon and Belfield, many members of the senior team at Crossfield, including Cain and Cassidy, boast significant experience working for some of the region’s and nation’s largest contractors, including Wates, Willmott Dixon, Kier, Pochin, and Vinci.

Tom Dillon and David Cain have a long-standing working relationship having worked together at Wates.

Stuart Belfield

David said: “I worked with Tom for the best part of eight years and personally learned a huge amount from him. Because of that, it’s particularly good to be able to welcome him to the Crossfield team as I know just how much experience he has to share and what he will bring to our commercial activities across the group.”

Tom Dillon said: “I’m very pleased to be joining Crossfield Group. It’s a growing business with an excellent reputation and is based in my home town of Liverpool.

“I know first hand that the leadership team here is experienced and astute as well as being fresh and agile, which is quite a powerful combination and accounts for their significant growth in recent years.”

The Speke-based business works across both the public and private sectors and currently has a range of high-profile projects under way, including a development of 130 residential apartments in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle and a large partnership in place with social housing provider, Onward, to create 65 affordable new homes across the North West. They also recently completed Hugh Baird College St Winefride’s Campus and a medical centre in Hunts Cross.

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