People on the Move: Smarter Click; Gray Scanlan Hill; Farleys Solicitors; HBD; Creative Spark

Mel Skuse

Fast-growing customer conversion rate specialists Smarter Click has announced the opening of a new office in Manchester, where Mel Skuse has been hired as the new regional manager.

Mel joins the team with a long history in the agency world, bringing a broad experience of the digital marketing scene, with 10 years’ worth of experience.

Hailing from Huddersfield, Mel will be opening the Manchester office to continue to provide Smarter Click’s service for the rapidly growing list of clients based in the North.

The office opening also indicates the importance of the city to businesses around the country, and is in keeping with the increasingly positive trend of more brands setting up head offices and launching within the Greater Manchester area, said the firm.

Founded in 2013, Smarter Click has experienced incredible growth, going from a business with just three staff, to one with more than 30 working from offices in London, Madrid, Hong Kong, and now Manchester.

Smarter Click has also hired a new head of business development, Luke Matthews, who joins at the end of the month, as well as a new operations director, Chris Johnson, who started earlier in the year, with more hires to come in the coming months.

Chief executive Ennis Al-Saiegh said: “We’ve always been proud of our growth as a company, and we have a great product set and provide a world-leading service, so it’s really pleasing to be able to physically see how far we’ve come in just over six years.”


Manchester-based independent building surveying practice, Gray Scanlan Hill, has appointed Holly Durose as assistant building surveyor.

Holly is studying a part time MSc in commercial building surveying at Liverpool John Moores University but recently worked for Kier Group and Newbury Racecourse on refurbishment projects.

Holly Durose

Prior to this she obtained a BA (Hons) Degree in philosophy at The University of Leeds in 2017.

Mike Scanlan, director and co-Founder, said: “We keep an open mind when looking for new talent. Non-cognate graduates like Holly can contribute something different to the team when it comes to analytical skills and problem solving and we’re really looking forward to working with her.”

Holly said: “It’s great to be working with such an experienced team and embracing the challenge of working on some fantastic projects for high profile clients.”

Gray Scanlan Hill acts for clients including Atmore Group, Peel Holdings, Emerson Management Services, Chancerygate, Seqirus, Peter Stevens Estates, Henry Boot Developments and Intertek.


Law firm Farleys Solicitors has welcomed the arrival of solicitor Ashley Marshall to its expanding private client team.

Ashley brings vast experience advising individuals, families and business owners on a wide range of private client matters and wealth protection, including wills, trusts, inheritance tax, probate and estate planning.

He also adds to the firm’s specialist expertise in Court of Protection, Powers of Attorney and mental capacity matters.

He joins Farleys with 13 years’ experience working across the Lancashire community and is a third generation private client lawyer, which in turn has led to him advising various generations of families across the region.

Ashley Marshall

Ashley said: “I am delighted to have joined Farleys, a firm which prides itself on down to earth legal expertise. The breadth of expertise at Farleys is very impressive and, as such, I am really excited to join such a reputable team.”

Phil Taylor, partner and head of Farleys’ private client team, added: “Ashley’s wealth of experience as well as his reputation within the community makes him a valuable addition to the team.

“We are always looking to hire the best talent the North West has to offer in order to continue to provide our clients with the top quality service they expect from us. We are delighted to have Ashley on board.”

Farleys’ private client team advise clients across the county from their offices in Blackburn, Preston, Accrington, Burnley and Manchester.


Property developer HBD has hired Chris Newsome as senior development surveyor as it targets ambitious growth.

HBD enjoyed another successful year in 2019, which saw its pipeline increase from £1bn to £1.6bn and ended with a complete rebrand, its new guise better reflecting the business, its team and its values.

Chris joins HBD from St Modwen, where he led on the delivery of the regeneration of the 450-acre former MG Rover site at Longbridge.

Chris Newsome

He brings more than 27-years’ experience, having held roles with Simon Developments and global brands McDonalds and M&S, handling acquisitions across the North.

Chris will work across HBD’s Manchester and Leeds offices, supporting the expansion of its commercial development pipeline across the North.

Dean Thompson, director and head of HBD’s Manchester office, said: “We’re very pleased to have Chris on board – he brings a huge amount of experience and will, no doubt, be a real asset as we continue to invest in Manchester city centre and expand our wider North West development pipeline.”

Chris said: “It’s great to be joining at such an exciting time for the business – I look forward to working with the team to secure new development opportunities, while delivering the well-designed, high-quality schemes that have become synonymous with HBD.”

HBD has offices in Leeds, Sheffield, Manchester, Birmingham, London, Bristol and Glasgow and is working with a development pipeline of more than £1.6bn. Its diverse, UK-wide portfolio includes big-brand retail, office space and logistics, through to residential innovation and award-winning heritage projects.


Creative Spark, the Manchester strategic brand and campaign agency, has appointed marketing and business expert Ian Bishop as its non-executive board director.

Ian has a wealth of relevant experience that will bring process and structure to the agency as it moves into a new phase of growth.

His career includes experience as marketing director of a retail business worth £1.3bn, tech entrepreneur and sport marketer. Ian is a seasoned non-executive board member who thrives on advising businesses and finding their purpose.

Neil Marra, founder and creative director of Creative Spark, said: “Creative Spark has had a disruptive couple of years, but now we are in a good place, a brilliant team of people, great client relationships and some excellent projects launching this Spring.

Ian Bishop

“We are delighted to bring Ian on to the board as he has the experience we need to drive our current success and the skills to structure the agency for long-term stability. We look forward to a successful working relationship.”

Ian said: “Creative Spark is a great business with lots of energy, I look forward to achieving the objectives we set in our agreed three-year plan and seeing the team go from strength to strength.

“Being on the board is a great opportunity for me to share my insight as a marketing director to benefit the agency’s relationship with clients and in a pitch process. I am looking forward to working alongside Neil and the senior team to make 2020 a success for the agency.”

Creative Spark’s clients include Seven Brothers Brewery, Aegan Airlines, Sony Music, Russell Hobbs and British Cycling.