People: Meadow Foods; Jackson Stephen; Kingswood Homes; Viddyoze; Harlex; Ball & Berry

Raj Tugnait

Chester-based Meadow Foods, a supplier of value-added ingredients to the food industry, has announced the appointment of Raj Tugnait as its new CEO, which will commence in May.

Mark Chantler, the current CEO, will remain a key part of the leadership team with a seat on the board as a non- executive director and a significant shareholder.

Raj Tugnait will join the business in early April and will be officially appointed CEO from early May. Raj joins with more than three decades of senior experience in the food sector, most recently as CEO of Sysco Speciality Group, a division of one of the largest food businesses in the world.

He started his career with an entrepreneurial family business before moving to Country Choice and then Brakes Group where he delivered growth in volume, profit and market share. He was appointed CEO of Fresh Direct Group in September 2016, before being appointed as CEO of Sysco Speciality Group in early 2020.

Raj has spent 12 years on operating boards under two private equity ownerships (CD&R and Bain capital) and was a part of two successful exits for his shareholders.

Mark Chantler said: “I feel immensely privileged to have led Meadow Foods in its transition from a family dairy business to the market leading ingredients business we have today. The business now incorporates six divisions across four sites, 450 employees, 350 active customers and thousands of suppliers. Meadow Foods is stronger, more diverse and more financially secure than ever before and we feel now is the time for an experienced and entrepreneurial operator to lead us through this next phase of growth. I look forward to working with Exponent, Raj and the executive team going forward.”

Raj Tugnait said: “After 23 successful years at Sysco, the excitement of applying my skills and working with a talented team to take Meadow to even greater success is the reason for me joining. I would like to congratulate Mark and Simon Chantler for building a successful business and Exponent for the opportunity. The company has excellent fundamentals and a plan for growth accompanied by a strong and aligned team focused on innovation, quality, sustainability and continuous improvement and I look forward to taking over from Mark in May.”


Accountancy and business advisory firm, Jackson Stephen, has made a senior appointment within the marketing team as part of its continued growth plans for the business.

Lisa Mitchell has been hired as senior marketing manager and will be helping the Warrington-based business with its growth strategy, which includes big changes for the business.

Lisa Mitchell

She joins the business from a consultancy background having worked with businesses in construction, health and safety, and energy, and brings with her years of multiple industry experience and repeated success in establishing and growing various company brands.

Ian Settle, chief executive, said: “Lisa brings with her a wealth of experience and knowledge which will further develop our brand. 2022 is already turning out to be a game changer for us, and there’s more big news coming soon, watch this space.”

Lisa Mitchell said: “The business has great plans and has put a considerable amount of investment into these plans, and I am looking forward to working with the team and supporting the business’s future strategies.”

The appointment is just one of 22 in the past 12 months, which reflects the significant growth and investment in the North West business.


Kingswood Homes has announced the appointment of Gordon More, former Homes England interim chief executive, as non-executive director.

Gordon spent more than 30 years in the banking sector focusing on real estate and general corporate sectors.

He was seconded from his role as managing director of the business support unit (commercial real estate) within Lloyds Banking Group to join Homes England as head of investments in 2014. He took on the role of chief investment officer at Homes England three years later, playing a key role in building the investment team and leading the deployment of capital in support of the Government’s housing strategy, before being appointed interim chief executive, a role he held for eight months.

Gordon More, left, and Paul Jones

Prior to moving into banking he worked as a graduate engineer with Balfour Beatty after studying for a degree in civil engineering at the University of Strathclyde.

Managing director, Paul Jones, said: “Gordon has a wealth of experience in the finance and housing sectors and is a welcome addition to the Kingswood Homes board. With his knowledge and expertise we’re confident of achieving our ambitious growth plans, helping us provide additional employment opportunities as we increase the number of homes we build.”

Kingswood Homes, headquartered at Little Hoole, near Preston, is currently building at Green Hills in Feniscowles and The Hawthorns in Elswick, Lancashire, and at The Market Quarter in Hatherleigh, Devon. The company also has plans for 79 new homes in the Lancashire village of Hoddlesden.


Preston-based animation firm Viddyoze has made a series of key hires including a newly created role of chief of staff.

Ruth Fitzherbert-Brockholes has been appointed as Viddyoze’s first chief of staff and will report directly to the three co-founders, David Chamberlain, Jamie Garside and Joey Xoto.

Fitzherbert-Brockholes previously spent more than eight years at Assurant and she’ll be joined by two hires in the SEO and UX divisions, bringing the total global workforce to 60.

Viddyoze was founded in 2015 and more than 180,000 people around the world use its technology to create their own video animation.

David Chamberlain said: “We’ve grown really quickly in recent years but it’s vital we have the right governance and infrastructure in place to manage that growth going forward.

Ruth Fitzherbert-Brockholes

“Ruth has already forged a reputation as being the first person people go to if they have a problem and it’s a role that is only going to develop as we move forward.

“We had a really good 2021, including finishing 16th in the Northern Tech Awards list of the 100 fastest-growing tech companies in the North of England, Scotland and Ireland, and we want to carry on growing in 2022.”

Fitzherbert-Brockholes said: “Chief of staff is the perfect job for me. I have a reputation as a bit of problem solver and by dealing with the day to day stuff the founders can focus their energy on the big ticket items.

“Viddyoze has a brilliant reputation and it’s great to be part of a winning team.”

In November, Chamberlain, Garside and Xoto won the Judges’ Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in the Northern Tech Awards 2021.


Harlex, the North West property investment and development company, has appointed Tom Lathwood to join its Manchester team.

Tom previously worked at Colliers for six years starting in office agency before moving to the development team. Tom will be working alongside Harlex founder and managing director, James Nicholson on a number of projects including The Granary in Leeds where Harlex is acting as development manager on behalf of Pitalia Real Estate on the 20,000 sq ft office refurbishment and adjoining 5,000 sq ft pub.

Tom Lathwood, left, and James Nicholson

James Nicholson said: “Tom brings with him a diverse range of qualities, experiences and a fantastic attitude and he enhance the first class service and advice that Harlex provides.

“We have a number of high profile projects on at the moment and have recently acquired a 120,000 sq ft warehouse on Europa Boulevard in Warrington on behalf of CBREIM, which is set to undergo a significant refurbishment and are actively seeking new opportunities.”

Tom said: “I am very excited to have joined Harlex, a dynamic and proactive company that is having a big impact on the property industry. The company’s ethos and passion resonated with me and it has the capabilities to deliver exceptional results for its clients. I look forward to the challenges ahead.”


Approved Inspector Ball & Berry has appointed a new regional director for the North West, to drive forward the business’s growth and expand its commercial and domestic portfolios.

Jennifer Barrett will be central to developing the strategy in the North West, ensuring the company achieves consistently high levels of service delivery and compliance.

She joined the construction industry as a trainee civil engineer technician in 1992 and shortly after began undertaking a series of qualifications. She secured a degree in Building Surveying in 1999, which saw her move into roles as a building control consultant, building control surveyor and senior project manager.

She joined Dunwoody Building Legislation as an associate director in 2005 and advanced to full director in 2012, before joining Jhai as regional manager in 2018. She was promoted to technical manager in 2020, ahead of joining Ball & Berry at the start of 2022.

Jennifer Barrett

Jennifer specialises in retail, industrial, public sector, education and residential developments, and has extensive experience in quality assurance and legislation. She holds an Executive Diploma in Management, was a former ACAI representative on the BCA Technical Committee, and is a member of the Chartered Association of Building Engineers.

She said: “Ball & Berry is a well established and respected approved inspector, and I’m thrilled to be joining a business where I’ll be central in helping to shape its future direction in the North West.

“I’ll be bringing my leadership and technical skills to the fore, together with a wealth of experience in complex and major projects that includes numerous government and Crown Estate developments.

“It’s also my ambition to provide guidance and support to younger team members who are in the early stages of their career, ensuring they receive the same progressive opportunities that I was awarded to flourish and grow.”

Director, Paul McNeill, said: “Jennifer has such extensive experience in construction and building control, and with her raft of qualifications and sector memberships, she really is on the pulse of the industry.

“The insights and vast knowledge she’s gleaned from such a high calibre of roles over the last 30 years will be a huge advantage to Ball & Berry.”