People on the Move: J B Cole; Fletchers Solicitors; SkyParlour; Kuits; Weightmans

Josh Bolland
X The Business Desk

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Manchester and Hertfordshire-based digital consultancy, J B Cole, continues to grow as it announces a new client win and the appointment of three team members.

Following a string of new client wins over the past quarter, the latest addition is the UK’s leading Oriental grocer, Wing Yip.

Josh Bolland, co-founder and managing director of J B Cole, said: “Through adversity, we have had a busy 2020, serving both existing and new clients alike. Our eCommerce design, development and integration capabilities have been in particular demand lately, which we have put down in part to the surge in need for eCommerce solutions driven by lockdown.”

The firm has also bolstered its team with the arrival of client services manager, Mollie McNicholas, and production team Ciaran Murray and Dave Taylor. The appointments are part of an ongoing recruitment drive.

Josh said: “Our teams, like those around the country, have been put through their paces, working hard from home during lockdown and continuing to strive for the highest level of service for the clients we look after.

“Over the next few months we’re expecting to continue to thrive with further new client projects and I’m confident that the knowledge and experience of our new starters will strengthen our already exceptional team of technical, functional and digital talent.”

Mollie McNicholas said: “It has been a great opportunity to become part of such a respected and successful digital consultancy like J B Cole. I’m really looking forward to working with the team and clients to ensure we build a strong foundation to enable the continued growth of the company.”

The firm has established itself as a digital transformation agency in the UK, celebrating its 10th birthday this year having worked to date with clients including Morris Homes, The National Garden Scheme, Money.co.uk, NHS, Nokia and The National Trust.

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Alex Hatchman has been appointed as the first female chief executive of Southport-based law firm, Fletchers Solicitors.

Alex previously held the position of chief strategy and operations officer with the firm, which says her promotion is a positive step towards seeing more women in leadership roles within typically male-dominated industries, such as law.

She said: “It’s a privilege and an honour to lead our fantastic business.

“I first joined Fletchers as a non-executive director in 2016, and at that time didn’t anticipate the amazing journey that we would go on together.

“We are now entering the next stage of our journey as a business, and if we continue focusing on serving customers and employing top talent, then the future is very bright.”

Alex Hatchman

Alex is an experienced and award-winning senior executive with a track record of outstanding performance at largely blue-chip businesses, including Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Accenture.

As well as her new duties as chief executive, Alex also leads on strategy and innovation for Fletchers.

In 2018 her contribution was recognised by the Law Society when she became the first person to win the national award for Excellence in Practice Management.

Established in 1987, Fletchers Solicitors is the largest medical negligence and personal injury practice in the UK, specialising in serious injury, medical negligence law and motorbike accidents. The firm currently employs more than 450 people.

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Manchester PR agency SkyParlour has made multiple hires, including two senior appointments, as its expansion plans accelerate.

In a strategic hire that bolsters SkyParlour’s senior account team, B2B PR expert Jenna Walker joins as an account director.

A trained journalist, Jenna recently held positions at One Brand Magic and Citypress in the North West. Jenna’s focus will be on leading the global PR strategy for several of SkyParlour’s international clients across the fintech ecosystem, including a well-known payments brand and an award-winning fraud prevention specialist.

Former editor-in-chief of The Paypers, Adriana Screpnic, also joins as a senior content strategist. She will be based out of SkyParlour’s recently announced London office.

Jenna Walker

The firm has also taken on two digital communications assistants from Manchester apprenticeship organisation The Juice Academy.

Digital communications is an exciting discipline and one that is required for any fully-integrated communications programme. Habon Burale and Olivia Johnston will receive on the job training from SkyParlour’s digital communications consultants in tandem with classroom learning at The Juice Academy.

Director, Matthew Pears, said: “We are a people business and making the right hires is crucial.

“The SkyParlour team is the beating heart of the business and behind all its successes. Adriana and Jenna are exceptional hires for us. They both bring experience, industry knowledge and a seasoned skillset, which has allowed them to make an immediate positive impact.”

He added: “The apprenticeship programme with the Juice Academy in Manchester is something special to be involved with, too.

“It has provided a way for SkyParlour to open the door into the PR industry for Habon and Olivia, who, in return, bring youth and a passion to learn.

“This is equally important to SkyParlour’s future. All four of these individually brilliant women have made the team stronger and will help SkyParlour and our clients achieve great things together. But, perhaps more importantly, they are also great people to work with.

“It’s exciting times at SkyParlour and this is just one piece of the puzzle. 2021 is shaping up to be a fantastic year.”

These appointments follow the announcement last month that SkyParlour has created three new business divisions – Started, Scale and Consult – to better support businesses in the evolving fintech market at all stages of development, from start-up, to scale up, and scale out.

The agency has also opened a new office space in London, with plans to open an office in New York in January 2021.

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Manchester commercial law firm Kuits has promoted 10 lawyers.

The news comes shortly after the firm, that employs more than 200 people, announced the promotions of Sam Jackson to associate level and Caroline Brennan to partner earlier in the year.

Kuits’ property team has seen the promotions of Charlotte Barker, Nadia McMahon-Wilson and Kate Kurtz to associate level, while Emma Nimmo and Claire Heron have been promoted to senior associate.

The firm’s corporate department, ranked Band 1 in the Chambers and Partners legal directory for advising SME and owner-managed businesses, has promoted solicitor Kate Gledhill to associate level.

From left, top: Rebecca Ingram, Nadia McMahon-Wilson, Charlotte Barker, Phil Warburton, Humna Nadim. From left, bottom row: Yasmin Kalantari, Claire Heron, Emma Nimmo, Kate Kurtz, Kate Gledhill

Elsewhere, intellectual property associates Humna Nadim and Yasmin Kalantari have both been promoted to senior associate, along with Rebecca Ingram in the licensing department and Phillip Warburton in the litigation team.

Managing Partner, Steve Eccleston, said: “We are delighted to have made such a large number of promotions during what has been a difficult time for many businesses and the wider economy.

“These promotions demonstrate our commitment to developing our team members and providing opportunities for progression.

“Each team member that has been promoted has remained committed to providing service excellence to our clients throughout the pandemic, as well as providing clients with commercially sound advice. We, as a firm, could not be more proud of them all.”

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Liverpool-based national law firm Weightmans has hired an expert in social housing governance in a further boost to the firm’s growing offering to registered housing providers.

Jo Loake joins the firm as principal associate and brings with her a wealth of experience in social housing governance including amalgamations, mergers and group structures, setting up new companies and IPSs, ensuring good governance for registered providers and local authorities.

Jo joins Weightmans’ Manchester office from Knights, where she was head of governance and regulation, and is also listed in prestigious legal directory Chambers & Partners UK for her work and expertise.

Jo Loake

She said: “Weightmans is well respected in the social housing space having provided advice and support to registered providers for decades.

“I am delighted to join a firm which remains committed to the sector through continued growth, and look forward to building the governance practice and be recognised as the go to firm for governance matters.”

Partner and head of social housing at Weightmans, Sian Evans, said: “This year hasn’t been without its challenges but we have been fortunate to see some fantastic growth in the social housing space with a number of tender wins and panel appointments.

“It is important to us that we offer our clients a full portfolio of support, and Jo brings with her a host of new skills and experience to enable us to do just that. It is a pleasure to welcome her to Weightmans – she is an outstanding lawyer and a valuable addition to the team.”

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