People on the Move: Electricity North West; Cowgills; Co-op; Excello Law; JLL; Cirrus

Jenny Willis

Electricity North West has appointed a high profile industry expert to chair its consumer vulnerability panel.

Jenny Willis boasts a wealth of experience in research, participation, and community and stakeholder engagement, particularly focusing on the needs of those who find themselves in vulnerable circumstances.

The consumer vulnerability panel helps support the delivery of Electricity North West’s Consumer Vulnerability Strategy, while also providing advice and suggestions on future policies.

Willis chairs an experienced board which includes representatives from Energy Savings Trust, United Utilities, Burnley Boys and Girls Club, LEAP, Kashmir Youth Project, NEA, Advocacy Focus, Citizens Advice, Business in the Community, Cumbria Action for Sustainability and various local authorities.

“It is an honour to chair a panel which is vital to the way Electricity North West supports vulnerable customers,” she said.

“In this role, I am looking forward to harnessing the wealth of experience represented on the panel, and also meeting key representatives from businesses and authorities throughout the North West.

“Electricity North West’s consumer vulnerability strategy has achieved a number of great things for the region. It’s an exciting time to join the panel and help oversee the implementation of their strategy, in particular focusing on fuel poverty and understanding vulnerabilities across the North West and identifying ways and new partnerships to support those most in need during a power cut.”

Willis, who also sits on the independent customer engagement group helping shape Electricity North West’s business plans for future investments, was appointed to the role following a stringent selection process.

Working with consultancy 3KQ, she has previously supported SGN and SP Energy Networks with their stakeholder engagement, and spent several years working with Co-operatives UK alongside community energy projects. She also runs a small upland farm near Kendal with her family.

Stephanie Trubshaw, customer director at Electricity North West, said: “The consumer vulnerability panel is vital to the way we support our vulnerable customers.

“As well as providing support to customers during power cuts, the panel also looks to build a stronger and more resilient community in everyday life helping to reduce fuel poverty, increasing fuel efficiency and delivering a reliable constant supply of electricity which helps assure business and local enterprises to thrive throughout our region.”


Business advisory and accountancy firm Cowgills has expanded its tax team with the recruitment of three new senior advisors.

Emma Bowles, who was previously advising entrepreneurial clients at Grant Thornton, has joined the team as tax manager and Lyndsey Hay joins from Booth Ainsworth in Stockport as a personal tax manager.

VAT manager Abigail O’Neill has joined from Ernst and Young where she advised multinational corporates, the NHS and charities on VAT matters.

Cowgill’s partner and head of tax, Lisa Wilson, said: “Emma, Lyndsey and Abigail are joining the team at an exciting time for our business.

“Despite the uncertain economic backdrop, the SME and owner-managed businesses we advise are thriving, as such our business is continuing to grow and we have 15 new starters across the company at our offices in Bolton and Manchester.

From left: Abigail O’Neill, Lisa Wilson and Emma Bowles

“We want to recruit the best talent to support that growth and build for the future, and we have continued this trend with these appointments.

“Our people are important to us as they are the primary interaction with our clients and we are determined to enable people to return to work after starting their families.

“We have a dedicated head of people function and have made significant investment in our benefits and rewards to ensure that we attract and retain the very best talent in the North West.”

The latest hires bring the total headcount of the Cowgills tax advisory team to 19.

Emma has significant experience and will be working with the corporate finance and business recovery teams. Lyndsey will be advising high net worth individuals, partnerships and trusts and Abigail will be advising the practice clients on complex VAT matters, including the specialist property and construction team.

Emma said: “As I live locally this was a great opportunity to move closer to home on my return from maternity leave.

“I was really impressed with the approach Cowgills takes to flexible working and creating a positive workplace environment. Lisa has a great reputation, locally and in Manchester, and I am really excited about the plans for the future of the business.”

Lyndsey added: “Joining Cowgills is a great opportunity for me to continue to grow in my career whilst having a young family. The firm offers a great work-life balance.”


David McKnight has been named managing director of the Co-operative Federal Retail and Trading Services (FRTS), which is the buying group for independent Co-ops to provide greater scale to the co-operative movement.

It is jointly owned by the Co-op Group and the independent retail Co-op Societies and serves more than 4,000 co-operative outlets across the UK.

At the heart of the FRTS model is a commercial buying operation and separate logistics team, run by the Co-op Group in Manchester, providing the services for all the other societies on a shared cost basis.

FRTS provides the governance forum that enables all the independent co-operative societies to work together to maximise its scale – the communication and negotiation consortium in which the Co-ops manage their strategic and day-to-day collaboration.

David McKnight

The FRTS board comprises the CEOs of the eight largest UK societies: The Co-op; Central England; Mid Counties; Southern; East of England; Lincolnshire; Scot Mid; and The Channel Islands.

David started his career with UniChem, completing a number of operational and buying roles across the wholesale and retail divisions, most latterly as medical buying controller.

In 2002 he joined Tesco as category manager for healthcare, leading the buying for pharmacy.

John Coombs, chair of Federal Retail and Trading Services, said: “We are delighted to announce David’s appointment, he brings a vast wealth of understanding and experience of UK and international grocery retailing to a role which is pivotal in ensuring societies work co-operatively to maximise scale and value.”

David McKnight said: “Co-operation is key to this role, and something I believe is more relevant today than ever. I am really looking forward to working closely with the Co-op Group and all the independent retail Co-op societies.”


Lesley Sullivan, a senior private client lawyer and registered Trusts and Estates Practitioner (STEP), has joined new-model firm Excello Law, based in Liverpool.

Her specialisms include advising on wills, trusts, administering estates, inheritance tax (IHT) planning and lasting powers of attorney.

Qualifying in 2008, Lesley previously headed up the private client department at MLP Law.

Lesley Sullivan

Lesley advises business owners and high net worth individuals on their personal affairs, including IHT planning through lifetime trusts and also incorporating trusts within wills, including trust set up, trust administration and acting as a professional trustee.

In addition to lifetime planning, Lesley administers estates when someone has died which includes advising executors or, taking on the role of a professional executor.

She said: “I am dedicated to my clients and providing a great service for them. The Excello business model allows me to focus my time on doing that, with the benefit of greater flexibility and control of my working day, supporting a more healthy work life balance.”

Julie Mogan, Excello Law regional director in the North West, said: “Lesley is a great addition to our team in the region. She is hugely experienced and brings valuable expertise for clients across the North West. We’re delighted to welcome her to the team.”


JLL has announced the appointment of a new lead director for its North West industrial and logistics agency team, as the sector continues its period of sustained growth.

Andy Pexton will join the team in the new year from Avison Young, where he was head of industrial in the North West.

During his 20-year tenure with Avison Young, Andy worked with clients including Royal London, Peel Logistics, IPIF, Goodman, and Aviva.

Steve Hogg, lead director for JLL in the North West, said: “Andy brings a wealth of expertise to the team, and at a crucial time for JLL as demand for our industrial and logistics consultancy continues to soar.

Andy Pexton

“The North West’s industrial market is booming, with the JLL Manchester office typically transacting between two to three million sq ft each year.

“Andy’s credentials and proven track record in the region will further enhance the great work the team is already doing and ensure that JLL remains a market leader in this space.

JLL’s North West industrial and logistics agency team boasts an impressive client roster, including Himor, Langtree, Peel Logistics, Stoford and Mountpark. Additional high-profile instructions include Omega, Kingsway Business Park and Logistics North.

Andy Pexton added: “JLL is doing some brilliant work throughout the region. I’m pleased to be joining such a great team, and I’m looking forward to getting to know both existing and new clients and helping to support their strategies at this exciting time in the market.”

JLL’s North West office is currently preparing to move into new premises at Landmark in Manchester city centre.

The new office space, located on St Peter’s Square, is set to amplify the way in which JLL delivers services to its clients, with an enhanced technological and digital offering, increased collaborative spaces, and a core focus on sustainability.


Wilmslow-based international leadership consultancy, Cirrus, has appointed Tom Holt as client director as part of the business growth team in London. Tom joins from FranklinCovey Europe.

With more than 15 years’ experience, Tom has a particular focus on leadership development having worked with thought leaders across the world.

He has also led on a number of high-profile international projects such as working in partnership with the United Nations to transform customer services at the World Food Programme, providing them with strategic account direction and achieving fundamental shifts in behaviour.

At Cirrus, Tom will help to grow and strengthen key client relationships across the globe, ensuring their business needs are met and serviced with consistently high quality, industry-leading solutions.

Tom Holt

Dr Simon Hayward, founder and CEO of Cirrus, said: “Tom joins Cirrus during an exciting period of growth, as we develop increasingly innovative leadership assessment and development programmes for senior leaders to drive transformation across organistions.

“Tom’s international experience and passion to transform business will strengthen our global team and we’re very pleased to have him on board.”

Tom Holt added: “Cirrus has an excellent reputation. There is a hugely talented global team here developing ground-breaking solutions, which is very exciting.

“Cirrus has a wealth of research-based thought leadership combined with a client-focused approach to learning. The ability to create unique virtual and face-to-face learning solutions that are tailored to each client really sets Cirrus apart.”

Tom’s appointment brings Cirrus’ team to a 60-strong employee workforce globally, servicing high profile clients such as GSK, RB and Standard Chartered.