People on the Move: Deloitte; Mazars; Stretton Capital; Ainscough Crane Hire

Ahmed Alshawi

Deloitte has continued to invest in its real estate team in Manchester, with the appointment of Ahmed Alshawi to its capital projects advisory arm and the relocation of Lauren Mays from the firm’s London office to join its development team.

Ahmed joins from Mott MacDonald, where he spent two years as a senior structural engineer.

Prior to that, he started his career as a structural engineer at Atkins, having completed a Masters’ degree in civil engineering at the University of Leeds.

A chartered civil engineer, Ahmed has developed extensive experience in the nuclear, defence, and power sectors, both in the UK and internationally.

He has considerable insight in engineering management, advising clients to drive value and deliver highly-complicated projects. His roles will include examining risk, conducting root cause analysis and supporting the delivery of strategic, outline and full business cases

Lauren has come through Deloitte’s ‘Brightstart’ apprenticeship programme, joining the firm in 2012. During her time in London she has gained experience of working across the firm’s service lines, including valuation advisory, asset and property management, development and real estate consulting.

She has been involved in some of the most high profile infrastructure projects, including working alongside Transport for London to identify development opportunities for housing, and supporting the planning and development of the future Euston station for HS2.

In their new roles Ahmed and Lauren will support the Deloitte real estate team in Manchester as it looks to expand its projects and expertise in the region, and support the resilience of the region’s property sector in the face of COVID-19.

The firm’s latest Manchester Crane Survey, reported back in February, revealed that 77 schemes remained on site, with the number of schemes completed over the course of 2019 at its highest levels since 2006.

Simon Bedford, partner at Deloitte real estate in the North West, said: “Bringing through young talent is crucial to the success of the Deloitte business, so it is extremely pleasing to be able to add to our North West team.

“Lauren’s progression highlights the strength of our Brightstarts apprenticeship programme, as she has been a key part of some of our London-based projects in recent years, and will continue to play an integral role in the North West’s recovery from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Ahmed has also had considerable success in his previous roles, and his expertise in the nuclear industry will come in especially handy as the region looks to develop a more environmentally friendly future.”


Mazars, the international accountancy and advisory firm, has appointed Steven Abbott and Tarifa Simpson as partners, both based in its Manchester office. Both join from KPMG in Manchester.

Steven has more than 20 years’ experience in advising a range of entrepreneurial businesses and larger corporate groups, helping them achieve their growth ambitions.

Joining on March 23, Steven immediately became a member of the team helping clients deal with coronavirus lockdown and delivering advice and guidance via a series of webinars.

In his new role Steven will focus on providing tailored advice to companies and their shareholders, while developing the vibrant and successful tax team in Manchester.

Steven Abbott

Tarifa has 17 years’ experience in providing strategic advice and due diligence services for a wide range of investors and businesses across the UK.

Based in Manchester for more than a decade, she has developed a specialism in private healthcare & life sciences, including a number of cross-border and listed company transactions. Tarifa will lead the transaction services team in Manchester in her new role.

Tim Hudson, Manchester office managing partner, said: “We are delighted to welcome Steven and Tarifa to both the Manchester office and the partnership.

“Their depth of experience and leadership will be a huge asset as we direct all our attention to help our clients navigate these turbulent times. These appointments are a sign of the confidence that Mazars has of the market opportunities in the North West.”


Stretton Capital, the privately-funded short-term lender based in Chester, has announced two senior level promotions.

Natalie Smethurst, formerly head of underwriting at Stretton, has been promoted to director of risk and recovery and Gemma Wray, previously financial controller of Stretton Capital and Stretton Property, has been promoted to finance director.

Natalie Smethurst

These high profile appointments will allow Stretton Capital to achieve its growth aspirations over the next 3-5 years and are the first of a number of new hires the company expects to make in 2020.

Natalie joined Stretton in September 2018 and had previously worked for a number of high street and short-term lenders in credit and risk over a 20-year career in financial services.

Gemma joined in September 2019 and has extensive experience within accounting and finance across a number of international and domestic blue chip organisations.

Chief executive and founder, Edward Chantler, said: “Naturally, we are delighted for both Natalie and Gemma. They are hugely important and integral members of our team and these promotions are testament to their dedication, ability and relentless hard work in getting the job done.

Gemma Wray

“Credit risk and finance are two of the most important functions within any business, none more so than during the turbulent times we find ourselves in, so whilst these roles have taken on extra significance lately, we are firmly planning for the future and our continued growth and these promotions lay the groundwork for that.”

He added: “COVID-19 has presented many challenges to businesses, none more so than those in the property sector, however, as one of the few short-term lenders to remain lending during this period of uncertainty, we see plenty of opportunities ahead of us and we want to be prepared to take advantage of them, something these two appointments will help us to do.”


Standish-based Ainscough Crane Hire has announced the appointment of Dr Andrew Tyler as chairman.

Dr Tyler previously held C-suite positions at Algeco Group, Northrop Grumman (Europe), and the Ministry of Defence.

Ainscough Cranes is majority-owned by funds managed by GSO Capital Partners.

Paulo Eapen, senior managing director and head of GSO Europe, said “We are delighted to appoint Andrew as chairman. Andrew brings a wealth of relevant experience in industrials and support services, as well as deep market knowledge.

“His addition complements and adds to the strengths of the existing executive team, under the leadership of Peter Gibbs. We look forward to working together in building on Ainscough’s success as the UK’s leading crane hire company.”

Ainscough Crane Hire has also announced the appointment of Peter Gibbs as chief executive, and Ian Scapens as chief finance officer. Peter was previously chief operating officer at Ainscough and formerly at Brakes. Ian joins Ainscough from Renold.

Andrew Tyler said: “These appointments further strengthen Ainscough’s great executive team, now under Peter’s leadership.

“I am much looking forward to continuing to serve our customers and build on the reputation the company has established over many years as the UK’s only nationwide mobile crane operator, working in partnership with our customers.”

From left: Dr Andrew Tyler, Peter Gibbs, Ian Scapens