People: Key Group; Lokulus; Banc; Rickitt Mitchell; Alcedo Care Group

Simon Drew

Preston-based Key Group, the specialist provider of financial solutions to the over-55’s, has appointed Simon Drew as chief financial officer.

Simon brings with him more than 30 years’ worth of finance experience across the general insurance and pan-European logistics industries. Most recently acting as CFO at private equity (PE)-backed insurance consolidator Bravo Group, which provides support and services to a network of owned and independent insurance brokers across the UK.

His career has also included roles at Crawford & Co, AON and P&O as well as other PE-backed businesses.

At Key Group he will have overarching responsibility for the finance and human resources functions as well as the group data and business intelligence unit. Simon will focus on helping to position the business for growth as the market returns to more normal trading conditions.

Simon Thompson, group CEO at Key Group, said: “We are delighted to welcome Simon Drew to the group as our new CFO. This is an important time for the later life lending market and Simon’s appointment will help us to capitalise on the significant opportunities that will continue to develop. I look forward to working closely with him.”

Simon Drew said: “The later life lending industry has significant growth potential, as well as a real focus on delivering good outcomes for customers, which is a fantastic combination for any sector. I look forward to using my experience to help develop the group’s offering and working closely with Simon as well as the rest of the senior team.”

As the CFO role at Key Group holds regulatory responsibilities, regulatory approval for this appointment will need to be confirmed before the appointment is finalised. Simon Drew replaces Rob Scott who recently left the company.


Macclesfield technology firm Lokulus has kicked off 2021 by increasing its team by more than 10% in the first quarter and by gaining a ‘Very Good’ rating on the company’s first Best Companies Staff survey as it continues its ambitious growth plan.

Lokulus, which builds software that digitalises customers journeys for clients such as Matalan and Leeds Building Society, has expanded across its team with six new hires in marketing, product, software engineering and customer success.

The recruitment drive supports the business’s growth. Back in March 2020 Lokulus moved into its high-specification office space at Glasshouse in Alderley Park, but as the pandemic hit the team were forced to work from home.

Andrew Pugh

Lokulus owner, Alister Harris, said: “We are delighted to welcome all our new team members. I hope they are encouraged that our existing team has accredited us as a ‘Very Good’ employer. We will be aiming to get full ‘World Class’ status by this time next year.

“Some of our team have been with us for well over 10years, so to hear that they are happy and enjoying working with us is great news. We are looking forward to all getting back into the office in summer.”

The new recruits are: Operations support assistant in finance and operations, Jenny Bailey, marketing executive in sales, Iga Cegielko, product owners in product, Vesa Popova and Daniel Blaylock, technical author/knowledte specialist in engineering, Amelia Cross, and customer success manager, in customer success, Andrew Pugh.

Andrew Pugh, said: “Starting a new position in a new business during lockdown is challenging, but the team at Lokulus have made me feel welcome from the start, I am looking forward to meeting and working with everyone face-to-face as soon as possible.”


Manchester-based digital marketing agency Banc has seen instant growth after employing new senior business development manager, Mike Garvey.

Mike Garvey

Since joining the business in January this year, Mike has added to Banc’s client list with Dolce Catering, Grape Tree and the Art of Maintenance.

Mike said: “Joining Banc has been like a breath of fresh air to me. They’re a great agency with a very highly skilled team. I’m pleased to have hit the ground running here and I look forward to helping this superb agency grow from strength to strength.”

Banc is working on paid media for both Dolce Catering and Grape Tree, along with designing and building a new website for The Art of Maintenance.


Rickitt Mitchell, the Manchester-based corporate advisory firm, is investing in its team with the promotion of Charlotte Greenhalgh to manager. The news follows the recent promotion of Kaine Smith to the board, with further hires in the pipeline.

Greenhalgh started her career at PwC where she completed her ACA qualifications, before joining Rickitt Mitchell in 2019 as a corporate finance executive. Since then she has progressed quickly, supporting on a number of high profile transactions with a combined value of more than £100m.

Charlotte Greenhalgh

Most recently, Greenhalgh has worked with board members Neil Mitchell and Kaine Smith on the sale of Antler Luggage to Australia-based Strandbags and APS Group’s £25m refinance with Shawbrook Bank.

Rickitt Mitchell has plans to grow its team further in the coming months, with two new imminent hires set to strengthen the team in what is proving to be a busy period for corporate finance activity.

Neil Mitchell, partner at Rickitt Mitchell, said: “We’re always looking at our team structure to ensure it meets the needs of our pipeline of work. With the deals market ramping up to levels not seen since the pandemic began, now is the time to be investing in our people.

Kaine Smith

“Charlotte brings a level of confidence and technical ability in the corporate finance field beyond her years. She is a highly motivated and hard working member of the team and we have all been impressed by her proactive approach and effective communication, as well as the quality of work she delivers. Feedback from clients is consistently outstanding and so we are delighted to announce her promotion.”

Established in 1976, Rickitt Mitchell says it is one of the most prominent independent corporate advisory firms in the UK, having completed on more than 300 transactions with a combined value of more than £4bn.


Fast growing Alcedo Care Group has recruited Katie Sainsbury, from St Anne’s, as the new Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered manager for its Blackpool office.

In her new role Katie takes responsibility for the safe and effective day-to-day running of the office on Amy Johnson Way and its team of more than 70 carers.

Focused on delivering an exceptional level of care to clients wishing to remain independent in their own homes, Katie and the team will work with each individual client on a one-to-one basis to provide a care package that meets their particular needs and will also communicate with next of kin to provide much needed peace of mind in these uncertain times.

Katie Sainsbury

Katie has built her career around caring for others. Most recently, she was a care coordinator responsible for maintaining the delivery of quality care packages for clients and was also part of an on-call care team, varied roles that she feels have provided different experiences that she has drawn on to progress her career goals.

She said: “I am delighted to join such a talented and friendly team and look forward to supporting and empowering those within my office to feel confident in their roles and progress within the company as it grows.”

Managing director at Alcedo Care Group, Andy Boardman, said: “On first meeting Katie we could see that she was passionate about caring for others. She has exceptionally high standards and we are confident that her experience and her commitment to delivering a quality care service will help her succeed in this new role.”

Established in 2017, Alcedo Care continues to expand at pace, with offices in Southport, Blackpool, Wigan, Preston and Lancaster.