People: Butcher & Barlow; CCW; Be the Best Communications; Salford City Council; Shoosmiths; Matthews & Goodman

Jonathan Aldersley, left, and Anthony Higham

North West law firm Butcher & Barlow has announced changes to its senior management team. Senior partner, Charles Barlow, has decided to step down from his role in advance of his retirement in 2023.

Charles has been with the firm, which will continue to bear the family’s name, for more than 40 years and is the fifth generation of the Barlow family to be senior partner.

The firm will continue to be led by the existing management team of managing partner Anthony Higham and the newly appointed senior partner, Jonathan Aldersley.

Anthony said: “The last few years have seen a slightly different structure in the management of the firm with Jonathan and I, together with Christopher Hopkins, dealing with the changes a thriving solicitors practice faces and those brought about as a result of the COVID pandemic.

“Given the history of Butcher & Barlow and the connection with the Barlow family, the transition leading up to Charles’s retirement was always going to be a pivotal moment in the history of the firm.”

Butcher & Barlow, a Legal 500 firm with 160 employees and 10 offices across the North West, underwent a rebrand in 2022.

Anthony added: “We took the bold decision to embark upon a branding update during the pandemic to demonstrate to all members of the firm, clients and contacts that we put into practice the advice that we give to clients and that decisions are shared. We believe that a collaborative approach in all aspects of working brings successful results.

“Jonathan and I have worked closely together for almost 25 years and the increasing size of the practice dictates that no one person can be responsible for all aspects of the decision making process. Identifying the best person to deal with each particular task or challenge is crucial to the ongoing success of the business.”

Jonathan Aldersley said: “Charles has been instrumental in guiding the firm to the position it is in today and has displayed his leadership qualities throughout his time with the firm. As he takes a step back before his retirement next year, we each felt this was an opportune time to make the changes to the management team.”

The firm also announced that head of corporate and commercial, Justin Kelly, joined the management team on May 1, 2022. Justin has been the firm for more than 20 years and deals with all aspects of corporate and employment work.

Justin said: “It is exciting to become further involved in the management of the business and it marks another step up from my start with the firm 23 years ago. I am convinced that Butcher & Barlow has a positive and successful future and that we can build on the success the firm has enjoyed for almost 140 years.

“I look forward to working with Anthony, Jonathan and Chris to ensure that the next chapter in the firm’s history is just as successful.”


As a result of 300% growth over the past year, Manchester-based creative content business, Creative Content Works, has expanded its team, with seven more new hires in 2022 so far.

This is another step in the company’s rapid growth plans, with further high targets set for the rest of 2022, including a further 25% increase in staff headcount.

Included in the new hire lineup is finance director, Asad Anwar who joins CCW from The Hut Group and brings extensive experience having previously worked at one of the leading “Big 4” accountancy firms, PwC. With more than a decade of experience across a wide range of sectors including digital commerce, retail and FMCG, Asad said: “I’m looking forward to working alongside CCW’s talented management team to help deliver our growth ambitions over the coming years as we continue to invest in our people and technology.”

Asad Anwar

A new addition to CCW’s creative department is art director Jennifer Doogan, an internationally published photographer and retoucher, skilled in art direction, marketing, picture editing, and copywriting. With previous experience at the BBC, JD Sports, and Garda Trentino Marketing, Jennifer will bring her unique approach to art and design inspiring her team to create award winning campaigns.

Jon joins the CCW Team from Trinity Create and brings with him 20 years’ experience within the creative, marketing, 3D and CGI agency sectors with previous roles at the likes of Blink, CIC and McCann. Jon said: “From working with a wide range of brands, I understand the need to ensure first class client service (with a commercial edge), not only do we need to make sure we exceed our client expectations, but our customers need to get bang for their marketing buck.”

In addition to these three appointments, five further hires join CCW including Dimitar Vranchev, 3D modeller, Dan Veal, lead producer, Lauren Hallworth, account director and Megan Knowles, new business manager.

James McVitie, managing director, said: “We’re incredibly excited about our fantastic new additions to the team. Each individual brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in their sector, and I’m confident they will drive their teams forward and ultimately help us to reach our business goals for the year. Looking ahead to the rest of 2022 and beyond, we’re aiming to grow the business again by 60%, expand the team by 20 new members and continue to push the boundaries of new technology, services and solutions.”


Be The Best has appointed mental health advocate and former BBC journalist Louise McWatt as head of engagement and operations as part of its mission to deliver industry-leading culture and processes.

The fast-growing Ancoats-based data-fuelled PR and public affairs agency has appointed Louise to lead its public affairs engagement with central and local government stakeholders as well as developing Be The Best’s culture and processes to set the agency up for further growth.

Louise, who is a trustee for Chapter, a mental health charity based in Cheshire, is an infrastructure, maritime, and housing communications expert who is experienced in leading high performing communications teams.

She joins Be The Best Communications from developer Pathway Homes where she was head of public relations, leading the communications strategy for the business during a significant investment outlay and building strategic relationships with key stakeholders including investment funds and fund managers.

Louise McWatt

Louise has significant experience in communications and brand building in place-making and regeneration, having led the PR, marketing, and stakeholder engagement strategy to support the transformation of a derelict industrial site in the Conwy Valley into one of Europe’s flagship adventure destinations, Adventure Parc Snowdonia.

Prior to that Louise worked at the BIG Partnership where she led public relations and stakeholder engagement for the £400m Liverpool2 development, the UK’s most centrally located deep water container terminal. For Peel Ports, Louise led stakeholder engagement with UK government, local authorities, and national and local media.

Before moving into communications Louise was a SONY award nominee broadcast journalist for BBC radio, and a news, business, and current affairs producer for France 24 television working in Paris. In her time with France 24 she also worked as a field producer in Ivory Coast, which saw her team win an exclusive interview with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara at his inauguration, following the Ivorian Civil War of 2010-2011.

The agency has appointed Louise after experiencing significant revenue growth year-on-year for the past two years.

Louise will work closely with managing director, Chris Walker, head of communications, data and insight, David Ottewell and workplace culture lead Lorna Bithell on developing and delivering the agency’s culture and processes.

Chris Walker said: “Building an excellent workplace culture and streamlining internal processes is a huge focus for us as part of our mission to create an industry-leading place to work. Over the years I’ve seen too many excellent communications professionals quit jobs or leave the industry due to workplace stress.

“I set up Be The Best Communications to deliver better results for clients but also to create a better workplace which enables people to be their best. Having experienced significant growth over the past two years Louise is a key hire who will help us to put the right building blocks in place as we move from start-up to scale up.”

Louise said: “I’m excited about bringing my skills and experience to Be the Best as the agency continues to grow and recruit more talent to the team.”


Salford City Council has appointed Matthew Ainsworth as its new assistant director for skills, work and the inclusive economy.

Mr Ainsworth, who returns to the council after a previous nine-year stint, will spearhead the authority’s skills and work programme, recently given a £1.5m funding injection as it seeks to bolster its skills pipelines and better connect the city’s employers and training providers.

A seasoned veteran within the public sector, Mr Ainsworth, who is Salford-born, joins the council after seven years with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority as its acting director for education, skills and work. In addition to his time with Salford, he also previously worked at Nottingham City Council and JobCentre Plus.

Matthew Ainsworth

Mr Ainsworth said: “I am incredibly excited about starting a new chapter in my career at Salford City Council to work with an amazing group of colleagues and partners to deliver inclusive growth and maximise opportunities for the city’s residents and businesses.

“Salford is a city that’s really going places and is a driving force in Greater Manchester. All residents should be able to see and feel the benefit of its growth and have access to more opportunities to increase their skillset or access training opportunities. As the new assistant director for skills, works and the inclusive economy, I will put all my effort into making that the case and putting Salford at the heart of the Northern Powerhouse.”

Welcoming Matthew, Tom Stannard, chief executive of Salford City Council, said: “His experience, knowledge and drive will be a real win for Salford and I am very excited about seeing what he will bring to the table as we seek to broker relations with businesses, employers and training providers to deliver lifelong learning opportunities for all and make adult education fashionable again.”


On May 1, long-standing partner David Jackson became Shoosmiths’ CEO, which has a substantial office in Manchester.

David takes over from Simon Boss, under whose tenure the firm grew substantially. David, like Simon, is now working closely with Shoosmiths’ chairperson, Peter Duff and the rest of the senior leadership team to propel the firm into the next stage of its growth journey.

David Jackson

Formerly head of the firm’s national commercial group, David played an instrumental role in substantially growing this area of the business and finding and developing innovative solutions for clients. Part of this was integrating legaltech as part of the business and launching the firm’s non-legal service arm, Shoosmiths8 Connected Services , last year.

David Jackson said: “I am excited to build on Simon’s exceptional legacy. I have been working alongside Simon, Peter and the rest of the management team for the last six months and we used this time to work on a new strategy designed to take Shoosmiths into its next phase in consolidation and growth. The strategy will be shared with all of our colleagues very shortly.”

Peter Duff said: “There is no better person to pick up the reins from Simon. I know David will bring all of his ideas, dynamism and drive as we work alongside each other to propel Shoosmiths into its next chapter. Our clients are at the very heart of what we do and the experience we give them is what we are famous for. We fully intend to keep looking at innovative ways in which to enhance this experience for them.”

Partner Robin Webb replaces David Jackson as head of the firm’s commercial group.


Matthews & Goodman, the specialist commercial property consultancies, has made key promotions in its valuations team in its Manchester and Liverpool offices.

In Manchester Richard Elton has been made a partner and Libby Naylor is now a senior surveyor.

Richard Elton

Richard has been with the firm for 10 years and covers commercial and residential properties for all purposes, including loan security, matrimonial, probate and asset valuations.

Libby joined in 2019 and completed her Royal Institution of CICS qualifications in 2020.

Tom Parry has been made an associate in the Liverpool office. He has been with the firm since 2018 when he joined its graduate programme.

James Routledge, head of the national investment team and an LLP member, said: “’Strength in depth’ is the perfect epitome for these promotions. Their diligence, enthusiasm for working in multi-disciplined teams and determination to enhance their technical skills and expertise has proved a major catalyst for everyone working with and around them.

“Most important of all they have all played a critical role in helping the firm and its leaders evolve our corporate and work culture, in an everchanging market.”