People on the Move: Beyond Corporate; Verastar Group; Turley; Northcoders; Kuits

From left: James Flynn, Moe Yassin and Owen McKenna

Beyond Corporate has appointed three new additions to its real estate and construction teams: Owen McKenna as real estate partner, Moe Yassin as construction associate, and Zaeem Habib as real estate solicitor.

Manchester-based Beyond Corporate is part of Beyond Group, the growing legal business which also owns and operates specialist family law firm McAlister Family Law.

The appointment of three new members of the team reflects the group’s target of continuing growth for Beyond Corporate, especially in the key areas of real estate and construction which will be the subject of significant investment and which the group hopes will drive continued growth over the next 12 months.

Owen McKenna, who has worked in the real estate sector for nearly 20 years, joins Beyond from Harrison Drury & Co, where he was a director, having previously held roles with DWF and Brabners.

His experience extends to freehold and leasehold sales and acquisitions, development and development funding, together with landlord and tenant and portfolio management work. He works predominantly with entrepreneurial property businesses and developers across industrial, retail, office and leisure sectors.

Moe Yassin joins from DWF. He is experienced in both contentious and non-contentious construction law, advising a wide portfolio of clients including private developers, contractors, subcontractors and local government. He also advises on a range of construction-related matters within the energy sector. His core focus areas are preventive dispute resolution and adjudication.

Zaeem joins having held roles at Gorvins and Mary Monson Solicitors. His new role involves working on a wide range of property issues, including freehold and leasehold acquisitions and disposals, landlord and tenant matters, real estate finance, and development and project work.

Beyond’s real estate clients include Rise Homes, New Care, McGoff Group, Property Alliance Group, Capital & Centric and Mulbury Homes.

James Flynn, who leads the real estate and construction teams, said: “Owen, Moe and Zaeem are quality additions, adding strength to the team as demand for our services continues to grow.

“Despite the pandemic, we have found that a lot of areas of the property market remain busy, and we are seeing a lot of activity across our sectors of expertise, in particular care, residential, energy and logistics. We also have a very healthy new business pipeline so we are delighted to have been able to increase our reach across both real estate and construction.”

Matt Fleetwood, head of Beyond Group, said: “We are beginning to see growth in real estate and both contentious and non-contentious construction businesses – these appointments reinforce our commitment to continued investment in the right people at the right time.

“We don’t recruit for the sake of adding numbers or bums on seats, but rather we target those people who can grow our business and add to the diverse and vibrant culture we created, and are dedicated to maintaining, within a highly traditional industry.”


Verastar Group, the provider of essential services to small businesses, has appointed former TalkTalk, Virgin Media and UKFast executive Lee Hull as chief executive.

Verastar provides utilities, telecoms, ultrafast fibre broadband, insurance and digital payments services to more than 160,000 small businesses across the UK, trading under a number of customer-facing brands including kinex, Clear Business and The Insurance Octopus.

Hull joins the Manchester-based group from TalkTalk Business, where he held the position of managing director.

He said: “Having watched Verastar’s rapid rise over the last decade, I am incredibly excited to lead one of Manchester’s flagship businesses through the next exciting phase of growth.

“The UK economy is going through major transformation, presenting many challenges but also significant opportunities in markets such as utilities, fibre connectivity, payments and insurance.

Lee Hull

“No other provider offers the range of services that we do on one bill and, as UK businesses look for value and a trusted partner, Verastar is uniquely placed to simplify admin and reduce costs.

“Verastar is one of the best-kept secrets in the UK business market, with an enormous B2B customer base and 900 passionate and talented colleagues.”

Founded in 1998, Verastar Group achieved a turnover of £183m in the financial year ending April 2020.

Hull replaces former CEO, Chris Earle, who informed the board earlier this year that he would like to step down after more than two decades with the company.

Verastar chairman, Geoff Unwin, said: “We thank Chris for the remarkable job he has done in leading and transforming Verastar into the incredibly strong company it is today. Who, 22 years ago, could have believed the change that has so successfully taken place? We wish him every good fortune for the future.

“Lee brings a wealth of experience in B2B, having operated at exec level within some of the UK’s best-known brands. The small business market is one of the most vibrant sectors of the economy, and continues to be so, as evidenced by the rate of new company formation.

“Lee has all the attributes necessary to reach and service it.”


Planning and development consultancy Turley has appointed David Diggle as a new senior director in its Northern planning team.

David, who leads Turley’s health team, is advising on several nationally significant infrastructure developments including Rail Central, Port Warrington and Gateway East at Doncaster Sheffield Airport.

In his new role David will continue to focus on projects across the North of England as well as supporting the company’s growing national portfolio of health and infrastructure work.

The promotion is one of 17 across the organisation. Despite challenging market conditions Turley continues to support co-owner development and progression.

David Diggle

Manchester-based Andrew Lowe has been promoted to associate director in the firm’s economics team.

Senior director, Stephen Bell, continues to lead the Northern planning team and he said: “The commitment and energy David brings to our Northern team, and the entire business, is palpable. I am incredibly pleased that his contribution is being rewarded.

“David has an excellent network of contacts and numerous strong client relationships. His ability to advise on a wide range of projects – from housing to airports, to hospitals – is reflective of how adaptable and agile he is. We are proud to have him and I look forward to many more years of working successfully together.”

David said: “Over the last 15 years I have seen our business go from strength to strength. The future looks bright and I look forward to driving further growth.

“We have an amazing team across the UK and Ireland and as our portfolio of nationally significant planning work continues to grow I am privileged to work with experts across our business. I look forward to doing more of this in my new role and continuing to deliver complex planning schemes for our clients.”


Northcoders – the coding school for the North – has added to its marketing team with two new appointments: Karen Burns is the company’s new growth and relationship manager, while Beatrix Matyas becomes its new community growth manager.

They will split their time between the company’s Manchester and Leeds offices.

Karen joins Northcoders from Leeds-based technology consultancy firm BJSS where she was the company-wide events manager.

Karen has 20 years’ experience across employer branding, talent attraction, marketing, events, and community building. She has also been an active member of the Leeds Digital Festival steering panel.

Her new role will see her working closely with the commercial and B2C marketing teams to raise the company’s profile in the business, tech, and consumer markets through a number of core activities including events, podcasts and digi bytes.

Beatrix Matyas and Karen Burns

Beatrix’s focus will be growing and nurturing Northcoders’ community of learners, using everything from social media to email marketing, and events. She has worked in content marketing for around four years and joins Northcoders from Digital Next. Prior to that she worked at theEword.

Both will also play a key part in delivering a consistent and holistic business-wide marketing strategy.

Karen said: “I have known Northcoders for a long time and have always admired its culture and values. It is genuinely a people-first organisation with community at its heart so I’m looking forward to adding value and amplifying its voice to our business, tech, consumer and alumni audiences.”

Ruth Ng, head of sales and marketing, said: “Both Karen and Beatrix bring some fantastic experience and I couldn’t be more excited to have them on board.

“As a business, Northcoders has adapted and evolved since the COVID pandemic hit, and we are now well placed to grow once again 2021. Their arrivals will help us build a strong, connected and diverse community of technologists across the country.”


Manchester law firm Kuits has strengthened its commercial property team with the hire of new partner Andrew Knight.

Andrew has 17 years’ experience acting for developers and advising landlord and tenant clients on their property portfolios and will be heading up the landlord and tenant team at Kuits.

Andrew also has experience in representing clients on renewals, surrenders, sub-lettings, licence to alter and way leave agreements.

Andrew Knight

Knight said: “Kuits is renowned for being one of the most experienced, flexible and technically-able teams within the North West, so I am thrilled to be joining a team with such a reputation.

“Joining the firm during the pandemic has been effortless, thanks to the technology it has in place and the firm’s focus on having a warm and welcoming culture, regardless of being in the office or working from home.”

Kuits managing partner, Steve Eccleston, said: “Our award-winning property team continues to deliver substantial deals for clients, despite the current economic climate and uncertain landscape.

“The addition of Andrew to our team strengthens our property offering, and we are delighted to welcome him to Kuits.”