People on the Move: LTE Group; Forbes Solicitors; Carrs Billington

Philip Johnson

LTE Group, the first integrated education and skills group of its kind in the UK, is pleased to announce the appointment of a new chair – Philip Johnson – with immediate effect.

Philip succeeds the previous chair, Sue Murphy, who, sadly, passed away in April 2020, following 12 years in the role.

Jenifer Burden, chair of the selection panel, said: “Given the macroeconomic environment in which the LTE Group is now operating, the requirements of the chair role are ever more demanding.

“The chair will steer the group through a period of unprecedented economic uncertainty, balancing rigorous risk management with the pursuit of longer term strategic goals.

“The board must also be confident that our chair respects and champions the fundamental values of the organisation.

“It is clear that Phillip will both uphold and further deepen the group’s commitment to an inclusive, respectful environment that is welcoming for all.”

Philip Johnson is already an active member of the Openshaw-based LTE group board, and was previously a senior partner in the Deloitte UK firm, having retired in 2007 after being a partner for 30 years, specialising in audit, mergers and acquisitions.


Law firm Forbes Solicitors has made 35 promotions as it continues to strengthen its commitment to people development and recognise outstanding client service.

There have been seven promotions to partner across a number of the firm’s specialisms and offices throughout Lancashire and Manchester.

Catherine Kennedy, who joined the firm’s housing & regeneration property team as an associate in August 2018, has been made a partner, while Victoria Motley also moves from associate to partner in the wills, probate, tax & trusts team.

Ben Wilson, who has doubled the size of Forbes’ contentious trusts and probate team after he set it up in 2017, also joins the 48-strong partnership, along with head of commercial, John Pickervance, who also leads the firm’s fast-growing manufacturing & engineering sector group.

The dispute resolution team’s Stephen McArdle’s promotion to partner follows his third consecutive recommended listing in the annual Legal 500.

Promotion to partner for the crime team’s Carrie Gilgun marks another milestone in a distinguished career with Forbes, which began 19 years ago when she started as a police station representative.

Oliver Burton

David Mayor in the firm’s insurance team completes the partner promotions. David specialises in complex construction and sports claims and was also recently appointed as the new president of Blackburn Incorporated Law Association (BiLA).

Other promotions see 19 professionals becoming senior associates and nine solicitors being promoted to associates. These promotions have been achieved across both of the firm’s personal and business services departments, which specialise in areas of law ranging from commercial property through to corporate law, litigation and employment.

Oliver Burton, CEO at Forbes Solicitors, said: “It’s especially pleasing to see so many promotions across different teams and offices.

“All areas of the firm constantly strive to work closely together to create opportunity for clients and each other, and this is recognised in the successes and achievements of these promotions.

“Well done to everyone and I’d like to thank them for working so hard and continuing to pursue opportunities when markets are so unpredictable.

“I’m so proud of the culture we have built at Forbes. Our team are ambitious and entrepreneurial individuals, just like the clients we support.

“Being able to watch our people progress and develop their careers is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and I look forward to seeing each of them thrive in their new roles.”


Agriculture supplier Carrs Billington has boosted its technical team with the appointment of an award-winning nutritionist.

Dr Ruth Lawson joins the Cumbria-based company as technical manager and is putting her scientific and practical skills to good use in helping farmers improve performance.

Dr Lawson, a previous UK Dairy Nutritionist of the Year, has worked in the feed industry on research with agricultural consultancy ADAS and also has experience as a university lecturer.

The Carrs Billington technical team is tasked with helping farmers improve efficiency and profitability and has a strong track record of developing new products and innovations that deliver results.

Dr Lawson, whose specialities include robotic milking systems, feeding high-yielding cows and transition cows, said: “I’m really happy to work with all sizes of farm.

“The important aspect is that they want to improve performance. I’d say that every time we work with a farm, we find ways in which we can help to improve its performance.

Dr Ruth Lawson

“In the case of robotics, it’s a major capital investment and the more efficiently we can make it work through examining the data, the more profitable the farm can become.”

Dr Lawson, whose interest in nutrition began on the family farm in West Yorkshire, graduated from the University of Newcastle with a degree in Agriculture, with Honours in Animal Production, and then gained a PhD in dairy cow nutrition and behaviour from Leeds University.

Managing director, Dr Mark Cole, said: “Ruth’s diverse mix of academic, research and industry experience equip her with a unique ability to take ruminant research results from university to the farm. It’s exactly the type of experience that can really add value to any farm.

“Her knowledge and passion for the industry will enable her to provide technical support both on-farm and to the sales team.”