People: Mulbury; Provenio Litigation; MHA Moore & Smalley; The Flava People

Richard Battersby, left, and Nigel Pearce

Residential developer Mulbury has strengthened is senior team with two new appointments.

The Cheshire-based firm has appointed Nigel Pearce as its new commercial manager.

Nigel has been running his own development and construction consultancy for the past 15 months and was previously North West commercial manager for GMI Construction.

Prior to this he was commercial manager at Bardsley Construction and worked in senior quantity surveying roles for regional and national contractors, including former Balfour Beatty division Mansell Build.

Meanwhile, Mulbury has also appointed Richard Battersby as buying manager, a newly-created role for the company focusing on group buying deals, as well as managing the growing buying team.

Richard was previously group supply chain manager for McGoff Construction for three-and-a-half years and worked as a senior buyer for Persimmon Homes. He has more than 20 years’ industry experience.

Greg Mulligan, Mulbury director, said: “It’s a privilege to welcome Nigel and Richard to the business. They are both enormously experienced in the construction sector and will offer our team invaluable skills and experience at a time where our housebuilding activity across the North West continues to grow.

“We are currently live on 11 sites in the region and have six new site starts scheduled early in the new year.

“Our strong pipeline of projects means we enter 2021 with real confidence. Our recruitment drive will continue over the next few months as we look to support our teams as the company grows.”

Mulbury is currently on site with housebuilding projects for registered providers including Great Places Housing Group, Torus and One Vision Housing.

It is also on site with its own open market development, under its Mulbury Living brand, in Boothstown, Salford.

Mulbury recently gained planning consent for three new city centre residential schemes in Manchester’s New Cross neighbourhood, totalling almost 400 homes which are all due to start in the first half of 2021.


Liverpool-based Provenio Litigation has appointed David Gray, formerly UK head of litigation and regulatory at DLA Piper, as a consultant to the firm’s investment committee.

David enjoyed a long and successful career at DLA Piper before retiring from the partnership in 2017. He was a partner for more than 25 years, head of the UK litigation and regulatory group for 16 years and Manchester office managing partner for four years.

He has managed many large multi-disciplinary teams in high-value, complex claims, often of a multi-party/jurisdictional nature, acting for a wide variety of corporate clients.

As a consultant David will act as a member of the firm’s internal investment committee, assessing the suitability of cases for Provenio’s £50m litigation fund with Therium.

David Gray

Managing partner, Mark Goodwin, was head of litigation and regulatory at DLA Piper’s Liverpool office for 17 years before founding the business last year He said: “David is an outstanding lawyer who brings wide-ranging legal expertise, sound judgement derived from his vast experience working at the highest level in the UK legal services market, and commercial acumen to our investment committee.

“The portfolio litigation funding agreement with Therium takes our business to a new level. We can offer clients a fully contingent fee arrangement backed by funding that takes the cash flow burden and financial risk out of the case, but maintains a significant return for the client on a successful outcome.”

He added: “We are excited to provide such a valuable litigation funding service to our clients – and we are equally excited to be working with David again.”

David Gray said: “I worked with Mark for many years at DLA Piper and was always impressed by his entrepreneurial spirit.

“It came as no surprise when Mark told me about his exciting new venture and we remained in close contact during the formation and launch of Provenio.

“For many years, one of my roles was to adjudicate on, and monitor, all litigation cases where alternative funding methods were being proposed.

“I worked with Mark frequently in this capacity and it, therefore, feels like a natural fit for me to support them again at Provenio as a consultant on the firm’s investment committee. I look forward to resuming some creative and constructive debates as a part of the internal approval process before seeking Therium’s involvement.”

Provenio Litigation was launched last year by a team of senior litigation lawyers from DLA Piper’s Liverpool office to advise exclusively on high value, national and international commercial disputes. The team has more than 100 years’ combined litigation experience at DLA Piper.


North West accountancy and business advisory firm MHA Moore and Smalley has added to its VAT and indirect tax team with the appointment of Steve Forster.

Steve joins the firm as VAT and indirect tax senior manager and will assist the firm’s clients at a time of unprecedented demand for advice on tax and international trade issues caused by Brexit.

A hugely experienced tax advisor, Steve’s most significant role was his 18 years spent with The Co-operative Group where he became head of indirect tax and played a leading role in developing the group’s tax policy for managing VAT, customs and excise duties and insurance premium tax.

In a recent role in professional services, Steve completed a seven-month secondment as part of the Amazon VAT advisory team where he was involved in a number of significant global and UK projects. This experience will be invaluable for clients who use Amazon as their online marketplace.

Jonathan Main, indirect tax partner at MHA Moore and Smalley, said: “Steve has a huge amount of VAT experience and knowledge, particularly as a result of his in-house roles in highly complex and diverse organisations.

“As we reach the end of the Brexit transition period, demand for specialist tax advice is at an all-time high and Steve will be an incredible asset to the firm and our clients at this critical time.

Steve Forster

Steve said: “I started my career as a VAT inspector for HM Customs and Excise, and have worked for several of the largest professional services firms in the UK.

“My time at the Co-op exposed me to complex VAT issues within sectors as diverse as food retail, travel, healthcare, farming, property, banking, insurance, even funerals.

“The demand for advice on import and export matters is at its highest for over 40 years, so I’ve joined MHA Moore and Smalley at a very busy time.

“The firm’s membership of the Baker Tilly International network sees it advising clients not just in the UK, but around the world. I’m looking forward to helping businesses and their management teams bring a sense of clarity to indirect tax matters as the UK navigates the choppy waters of Brexit.”

Steve began his career as a VAT inspector in 1986 before joining Ernst & Young in Liverpool in 1994, becoming a VAT manager in 1997. He took on the role as the first senior VAT manager at Grant Thornton in Liverpool in 1998 before joining the Co-op in 2001.


At the end of a busy year which has seen Manchester-based The Flava People continue to drive forward a rapid growth business plan, Neil Nugent has joined the team as a non-executive director to help drive the ambitious innovation strategy for retail in 2021.

One of the most respected names in the retail chef industry, Neil has a long and successful history of creating brands for retailers that resonate with consumers nationwide.

With nearly 30 years’ experience in food development, Neil has worked with some of the biggest names across the board. Working with the likes of Asda, Morrison’s, Pizza Express, Iceland and Waitrose, Neil has used his skills of spotting the next big trend to develop many of their most successful meal ranges and food concepts, including helping to bring Japanese and Indian street food to the forefront of the consumer market, designing and launching award-winning supermarket kitchen and development centres, and becoming Quality Food Awards ‘Food hero of the year’ 2017.

Neil Nugent

Managing director, Scott Dixon, said: “There’s arguably no chef better equipped at converting exciting trends into successful retail concepts than Neil. Bringing Neil into the team was an easy decision to make – his experience working hand-in-hand with some of the biggest names in retail food and drink, coupled with our existing clients including YO! and Iceland, puts us in a great position to be recognised as the go-to partner for culinary collaborations. What’s more, he’s a great Northern chef who’s obsessed by food and flavour at heart.

“As we head into a rapidly-changing retail landscape and what’s set to be an even busier 2021, having Neil on at The Flava People will continue to bolster our now incredibly strong leadership team, as we look to flood the market with innovation and collaborations this next year across multiple retail categories.”

Neil joins a retail-savvy team of Chris McLaughlin (non-exec director), Ali O’Brien (commercial director) and Matthew Davison (head of retail), as The Flava People looks to make big waves across retail in 2021 with several multi-category launches on the horizon.

In addition to creating bespoke own-label products, The Flava People specialises in working closely with customers to convert big trends into food and flavour concepts that are both completely unique in the market, but also universally accessible.