People: Kennedys; Videosign; PHX Training; Weightmans; RSM; MediaCom North Group

James Stevens

Global law firm Kennedys has added an organised fraud specialist to strengthen its team and help safeguard clients from the rising cost of fraudulent claims.

James Stevens is a former director and head of organised fraud at DWF Law, where, over the past 11 years, he has become well known for his work relating to organised insurance fraud.

It includes designing innovative, data-driven solutions for clients which Kennedys says will complement its existing products such as ‘Fraud Detector’ created by sister company, Kennedys IQ.

James, who previously worked in the organised fraud departments of Keoghs and Weightmans, will join Kennedys’ core team of 25 experienced fraud lawyers who work across all lines, enabling clients to identify, monitor and manage emerging fraud risks and problem behaviours created by professional enablers that increase the cost of claims.

The team is led by Martin Stockdale, head of Kennedys’ counter fraud unit and a member of the Kennedys IQ strategy board, who is named on Data IQ 100 – a power list of the most influential people working in data and analytics.

Martin said: “Our handpicked global group of specialists are among the very best in the business, combining cross sector expertise and market leading innovation to deliver what I believe is a truly exceptional service for our clients. I’m delighted that we can now include James in that group, whose work in the area of organised fraud is so highly respected and so closely aligned with our own.”

James said: “Fraud is such a fast moving area and innovation is crucial to deliver effective solutions for clients. Law firms cannot afford to stand still. As fraudsters continue to forum shop across different insurance products, Kennedys’ centralised approach puts the team at the leading edge of delivering services that meet the clients’ needs. Kennedys is constantly pushing the boundaries in order to create a hostile environment for insurance fraudsters, which is a vision I share, and I can’t wait to get started.”

James will be based at Kennedys’ Manchester office, which moved to larger premises on John Dalton Street in the city last year to house its growing team. His appointment is the latest in a series of high profile hires for the firm including Antonio Acuña, a former government advisor awarded the MBE for services to transparency and open data, who recently joined as head of data strategy.

Kennedys also recently announced that it had promoted 22 new partners, its largest ever number of lawyers to partner, across its global network. The new appointments takes the firm’s total worldwide partner count to 294.

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Electronic signature developer Videosign has appointed a new head of sales. Jamie Cavanagh, who has joined the Liverpool-based software developer, says he sees an exciting future for the company and wants to help businesses to discover the benefits of its platform.

Videosign’s innovative electronic signature platform combines artificial intelligence-powered facial recognition and video technology to offer maximum convenience and security when signing contracts and other legal documents.

Jamie said: “I like the fact that Videosign has its own product and IP, and that it has the ability to do something that no one else can offer. We really believe in Videosign’s potential to improve the way work is done and agreements are made, and recent new investment of £1.15m means the platform is getting better and better.”

Educated at University of Salford, Jamie has wide ranging experience in the field of electronic documentation. Prior to joining Videosign he was a director at Imscan Systems, a Lancashire-based business offering a range of document management services including electronic archiving and digital invoicing.

Jamie Cavanagh

Videosign chief executive, Steven Tallant, said: “Jamie’s expertise in digital document management makes him a perfect fit for us.

“He understands the challenges businesses face when signing and storing digital documents and contracts, and is passionate about helping businesses to become more efficient and agile. With remote working here to stay for a large number of organisations, Jamie is our resident expert who can help our clients transform the way they operate.”

Videosign’s online meeting platform offers the facility to record video and other evidence like IP addresses and timestamps to allow for e-commissioning and remote witnessing of signatures on legal documents ranging from affidavits to contracts.

The platform’s AI-powered facial recognition software compares an individual with their passport or driving licence photo to confirm their identity. It also has the ability to link to external identity databases for further checks.

The company recently secured new investment of £1.15m from Moonstone Group, which provides a portfolio of compliance, education and fintech solutions to the financial services market in South Africa.

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A training provider has expanded its Blackpool team with the recruitment of a new business manager.

PHX Training, which offers back to work support and workplace training from its centre at Blackpool Enterprise Zone on Lytham Road, has hired Pete Mulder to lead its growing team.

PHX Blackpool team

Pete joins the Blackpool team along with two new Kickstart employees to support help local people complete training courses to improve skills and get back to work.

Despite Blackpool’s unemployment rate falling following the pandemic, jobless claimants in the town are still around double the national average. Helping local people to reskill and offer support to find work in the new economy is key to making a difference, according to Peter.

He said: “Our team in Blackpool is making a real difference to people’s lives, helping them to gain qualifications and learn new skills which help them to become more employable.”

Briony Fawcett, managing director at PHX Training, said: “Across the North West we are supporting people to retrain and find work again.”

PHX Training has training centres in Barrow, Carlisle, Morecambe, Preston and Blackpool.

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Liverpool-based national law firm Weightmans has promoted 12 staff to partner and 10 to legal director. The 12 new partners have been promoted from May 1, 2022 and are based across five Weightmans offices in the UK. The North West promotions include: Jenny Byfield – Finance – Liverpool; Josh Conroy – Litigation – Manchester; Ian Pace – Employment – Manchester; Jeff Turton – Motor – Liverpool; Matthew Wilson – Litigation – Liverpool; Victoria Wright – Casualty – Liverpool.

Among the 10 Legal Directors, also promoted from May 1, 2022, are: Wendy Fox – Large Loss – Liverpool; Cath Hendy – Corporate – Manchester; Jessica Kraja – Litigation – Manchester; Lisa Spencer – Healthcare – Manchester; Tony Sullivan – Large Loss – Liverpool; Joanne Williams – Litigation – Manchester.

Weightmans managing partner John Schorah

Managing partner, John Schorah, said: “All our people, not just those promoted, have worked incredibly hard in challenging times to maintain the quality and exceptional levels of service our clients come to us for.

“I would like to congratulate our new partners for their achievement, with some of them being with us right from the beginning of their careers.

“Their focus on the client, support for each other and maintenance of high standards, is integral to our success, and I know that they will continue to work hard to deliver creative solutions and results.”

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RSM, the sixth largest network of independent audit, tax and consulting firms focused on the middle market, has appointed Nicola McCoy as the organisation’s chief information security officer.

Bringing more than 20 years’ experience to the role, Nicola will lead on the implementation of RSM’s global information security strategy to ensure the organisation’s high standards, integrity and consistency of polices and systems are maintained across all member firms. In addition, she will be responsible for optimising RSM’s cybersecurity defence as threats increase and evolve and will take a leading role in further developing its digital infrastructure.

Joining from Planview, Nicola held the role of practice director within the company’s professional services division for more than 10 years. There, she acquired a wealth of experience working with FTSE 100 companies, international banks, insurers and defence organisations to enhance key technology governance, architecture, risk and resilience activities, as well as regulatory reporting and enterprise risk management. In the role, Nicola created solutions to support organisations to develop data protection strategies in line with the European GDPR laws.

Nicola McCoy

Prior to this, Nicola spent more than 12 years at PwC where she was a key member of the Global IT Security and Global IT functions. She had various responsibilities which included ensuring that the information security policy and standards were embedded within the organisation’s global technology standards programme and aligned to ISO27001.

By leveraging this extensive experience, Nicola will help RSM member firms embed world leading management system standards as they are published and tailor risk mitigation solutions to suit, ensuring they remain at the forefront of the latest international quality and risk standards.

Working with RSM’s global leader in quality & risk, Marion Hannon, and global chief innovation officer, Paul Herring, Nicola will also support several transformative digitisation projects.

Chief executive, Jean Stephens, said: “The chief information security officer is an important role that unifies business and security priorities, and accelerates agile and robust solutions, whilst helping our firms to navigate the ever evolving regulatory landscape. We are excited to welcome Nicola to the RSM team.”

Nicola McCoy, said: “With regulatory scrutiny at an all time high, cyber breaches rising at a rapid rate, and the risk of fines and reputational damage threatening businesses all over the world, the need to strengthen information security strategies has never been more important. I’m looking forward to working with RSM’s talented team and leading projects that will mitigate these increasingly sophisticated cyber threats, and allow the organisation’s leading security and data technology projects to accelerate.”

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Jenny O’Sullivan has joined the MediaCom North Group as digital client partner, as the agency continues to attract new dot com brands to its customer base, and expand its head count on the back of growth from existing clients.

She joins MediaCom’s Manchester team after a 12-year career at McCann, where she spent the past six years as head of digital media at McCann Manchester and ran the digital media account for Aldi. O’Sullivan was previously eCommerce manager at Fragrance Direct.

Jenny will be a key stakeholder on the MediaCom Manchester senior leadership team, supporting managing director Nicola Marsh as she broadens her remit as head of the UK Google Practice. Jenny will be responsible for refining and driving forward client digital strategies, working directly with MediaCom Manchester’s planning and management teams to engender holistic, cutting edge digital strategies and further integrate digital channels with ATL for a more cohesive approach.

Jenny O’Sullivan

The agency’s major dot com clients include Studio.co.uk, Moonpig, Hillarys, Tombola and Topcashback.

Jenny said: “Having worked in an integrated creative agency, and client side, I like to think I bring a broad perspective to how we support clients in reaching their goals through the latest media and digital routes to market and MediaCom’s ethos of helping clients to see the bigger picture very much appealed to me. I’m looking forward to using this breadth of experience and my skills that span all digital paid channels to work with the agency’s area specialists.

“The team here in Manchester also works in close partnership with Mediacom UK based in London; similarly as the Google Practice is based up here, we have a lot of digital business that would historically have been viewed as ‘London clients’. That is brilliant for attracting the best talent to join us here in Manchester.”

Nicola Marsh said: “We are continuing to see an upward trend of clients bringing their digital and media under a holistic strategy – something we have specialised in for a while now; putting dot com clients in front of the right audiences using the most effective channels available.

“Bringing Jenny into the team will enable us to meet this demand and strengthen our strategic capabilities – helping clients to not only deliver immediate results but build for the future. She has a wealth of experience and people skills to increase our own internal collaborative working practices, and to support our client relationships.”

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