People on the Move: Electricity North West; Kuits; The Women’s Organisation; Gas Tag

Alistair Buchanan

Electricity North West, the Stockport-based company that owns and maintains the regional power network, has announced former Ofgem chief executive, Alistair Buchanan, as its new chairman.

Buchanan will take up the role as part of a planned board succession following the completion of Electricity North West’s strategic review in December 2019, which was successfully overseen by current chairman Dr John Roberts.

Roberts, who had previously been chief executive of Manweb and United Utilities, leaves Electricity North West following a strong performance during his six-year tenure as chairman.

Buchanan has a wealth of knowledge and experience in the energy industry, including 10 years as chief executive of Ofgem, the gas and electricity markets regulator.

In 2013 he joined KPMG as partner and UK chairman of power and utilities, returning to the firm where he trained as a chartered accountant.

During his career Buchanan became an award-winning energy sector analyst and head of research for banks in New York and London.

He joined Electricity North West as an independent non-executive director in 2018 and will take up his position as chair on October 3.

Electricity North West chief executive, Peter Emery, said: “I’m delighted to announce that Alistair is to be our new chairman and I thank John Roberts for his commitment to the role over the past six years.

“During John’s chairmanship, we have seen significantly improved levels of both reliability and customer service, and the launch of the organisation’s flagship ‘Leading the North West to zero carbon’ strategy.

“We invest around a million pounds a day in the North West and are at a critical time as we work to deliver a reliable, sustainable, yet affordable network for people and businesses across the region. We’re committed to reaching net zero by 2038, as well as playing a leading role to help secure the low carbon transition.

“As part of this journey, we expect peak demand to double in the next 18 years through the use of electric cars, which will require a further acceleration in our investment programme. Alistair’s experience is second to none and will be invaluable as we chart our course to meet this challenging outlook.”

Alistair Buchanan said: “The pandemic has proven just how much we all depend on electricity for our schools, hospitals and to allow millions to work from home. Electricity North West plays a key role in society, in reaching net zero and in the green recovery through its investment and I want to see them go from strength to strength.”

Electricity North West connects 2.4 million properties and more than five million people in the region to the National Grid from Macclesfield in the South to Carlisle in the North.

It is currently carrying out its biggest ever engagement programme ahead of submitting its business plan for 2023-2028 to regulator Ofgem next year.


Manchester law firm Kuits has promoted two of its most promising lawyers, welcoming one into its partnership.

Commercial and intellectual property specialist Caroline Brennan becomes the firm’s 32nd partner.

Caroline, who joined from Shoosmiths in 2018, has helped Kuits grow a key service offering in providing an outsourced support function for in-house legal teams, in addition to a number of other sector specialisms such as non-contentious IP and sport.

Caroline Brennan and Sam Jackson

Sam Jackson, a lawyer in the banking and real estate finance team, has been promoted to associate after two years at Kuits. Sam advises mainstream, bridging and private lenders on their financing provisions in the real estate sector, including bespoke loan security documentation.

Managing partner Steve Eccleston said: “It’s extremely pleasing to be able to recognise the achievements of Caroline and Sam and reward their commitment to the firm and its clients. Most recently, they have both done an incredible job in supporting North West businesses through this extremely pressured time.

“Both have demonstrated values we believe are crucial to the success of the firm: commerciality, collaboration with others to provide a comprehensive and joined-up advisory service, and the ability to forge strong connections to add value to our client relationships.”


A leading voice in women’s and social enterprise, Maggie O’Carroll, has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at Scotland’s University of Strathclyde, where she hopes to support the development of a more inclusive and socially-focused approach to entrepreneurial education and research.

Liverpool-based social entrepreneur and internationally leading voice on women’s enterprise, Maggie O’Carroll, has accepted the role at the University of Strathclyde Business School (SBS), in the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship

The centre, which is endowed by the celebrated entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter, is recognised as Europe’s leading academic centre for research, teaching and engagement in the areas of entrepreneurship, innovation and strategy within the context of SMEs and entrepreneurial ventures.

O’Carroll, a Cambridge graduate, is a co-founder and chief executive of Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation, an internationally-recognised social enterprise which has supported more than 70,000 women to take a more active role in social and economic life and has helped create more than 4,000 businesses since its inception in 1996.

The Women’s Organisation, which also operates from a Manchester office, was this year listed in the top one per cent of UK social enterprises in the SE100 Index, which is the country’s leading source of market intelligence on social enterprise.

Working on an international scale to ensure women’s interests are represented across communities, business and government policy, O’Carroll supports the agenda of women at the highest levels and speaks widely on issues relating to women’s employment and entrepreneurship.

She was also named as one of the UK’s most influential people in the social enterprise sector, making the top 10 in Natwest’s WISE100 list as part of the SE100 Index.

O’Carroll now hopes to pass on this expertise and industry knowledge to the university’s faculty, wider research and policy community and especially to students who will be the business leaders and entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

Maggie O’Carroll

Prof Nigel Lockett, head of the Hunter Centre for Entrepreneurship at the University of Strathclyde, said: “We are delighted to welcome Maggie on board.

“As Europe’s leading academic centre for research, teaching and engagement in the context of SMEs and entrepreneurial ventures we are always looking for ways to develop and enhance our offering.

“Maggie’s decades of experience in the field of entrepreneurship, particularly in the context of women’s enterprise and social entrepreneurship, will be an invaluable addition to this. We now look forward to welcoming Maggie to the department as she finds innovative ways to contribute to, and enrich, our academic community.”

Maggie O’Carroll said: “The University of Strathclyde Business School and the Hunter Centre is a pioneering, internationally-renowned academic organisation and I am delighted to be joining the exceptional team there as a Visiting Professor.

“Supporting evidence-based policy development and the next generation of business minds and entrepreneurs is hugely important, not just for the talent pipeline, but for the wider economy and society at large. It is so important that our future leaders recognise that business for good is not limited to charities and social enterprises alone, but has a hugely significant role to play in commercial businesses.

“If I can inspire just one student to go out into the world of business with a socially-focused mindset and to take that knowledge forward with them, that will be a great thing.”


A Liverpool based compliance technology company is aiming to expand its presence in London’s housing sector with the appointment of a new regional account manager.

Grahame Howett joins Gas Tag with more than 25 years of experience in sales and business development across the capital. Previously at Constructionline, Grahame has worked for the likes of Yell, Iron Mountain, Wincanton and Reconomy.

An ambassador for the London Chamber of Commerce, Grahame was awarded the Freedom of London in 2019 in recognition of his charitable work.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining such an exciting and innovative organisation.

Grahame Howett

“Gas Tag has some really impressive plans for the coming months which will help establish its reputation as the number one provider of compliance and safety technology to the housing sector.

“I am looking forward to getting started.”

Lee Burke, Gas Tag sales director, said: “Grahame is well known for his work in business development and his networks within the capital are second to none.

“London is home to some of the largest housing groups in the country and so we are very keen to open conversations with them about our revolutionary compliance technology.”

Gas Tag is already being used by a number of London housing providers, including One Housing, Barnsbury Housing Association and Southern Housing.

All landlords across the UK are legally required to carry out annual gas safety checks, but the current model is is paper-based and time-consuming. Gas Tag technology moves this system into the digital age, offering complete transparency to both the housing provider and its contractor.