People: Bridge Insurance; Preston City Council; Bathgate Business Finance; fulfilmentcrowd; Carr’s Group; PHD Industrial Holdings

From left: Andrew Berry, Richard Miller, Nikki Salmon

Bridge Insurance Brokers has expanded its credit division with three senior appointments.

Andrew Berry has been appointed as a credit insurance specialist, based in the Manchester office, while Nikki Salmon and Richard Miller have joined the company’s London team as trade credit & surety client director and trade credit & surety director, respectively.

Bringing more than 50 years’ combined experience, they will develop the footprint of the Bridge Trade Credit team both domestically and internationally, supporting clients with their trade credit, political risk and surety requirements. Andrew joins Bridge from Euler Hermes Direct, while Richard and Nikki join from Arden Insurance Brokers, having worked together previously at PIB Insurance Brokers.

All three will report to Mark Johnson, director of trade credit, who said: “The credit team is hugely busy – the current unsteady economic situation means we are working with clients more closely than ever, managing thorough business audits to identify risks and policies, and helping businesses of all sizes protect themselves while preparing for the uncertainty ahead.

“The Manchester and London teams operate as one so Nikki, Richard and Andrew are fantastic additions – they will further strengthen our well established and reputable credit operation.”

Bridge Insurance Brokers was set up in Manchester more than 50 years ago and operates out of its head office on Charlotte Street, Manchester, with its second office in the City of London. The company now employs more than 100 people.


Preston City Council has announced the appointment of a new deputy chief executive, following the retirement of Neil Fairhurst. Following an extensive recruitment process, Sarah Threlfall has been appointed to the role.

Sarah is currently the director of transformation at Tameside Council, with a strong and proven track record of local governance and public sector strategy.

She will work with chief executive, Adrian Phillips, and the corporate management team to lead the council services and staff across the city. Sarah’s post includes the role of director of customer services.

Sarah Threlfall

Cllr Matthew Brown, leader of Preston City Council said: “Myself and my fellow councillors on the selection panel were really impressed with Sarah’s wealth of experience and obvious passion for Preston. We’re delighted she will be joining the team and we look forward to working alongside her for the residents and city of Preston.”

Adrian Phillips said: “I am really looking forward to working with Sarah as our team works to deliver an ambitious agenda for our growing city. Sarah has a wealth of experience to bring to the city. She also has many family links to Preston – I am sure that it will feel like coming home to her.”

Sarah said: “I have strong family links to Preston and the surrounds, and I’m looking forward to working with Adrian and the team to deliver quality services and a continuing and strong community wealth building agenda for the residents and businesses of Preston.”

Sarah will take up her new position later in the summer.


West-Kirby based finance specialist, Bathgate Business Finance, has expanded its board of directors with two new appointments from within its existing team.

The company has named business development manager, Ian Adams, as a new director and finance controller, Colin Phillips, as company secretary, with both taking on the positions alongside their existing roles.

The appointments come as both approach 10 years’ service with the company, with Colin joining the team in early 2013 and Ian in 2014.

During that time Colin has supported the finance firm’s growth by creating and delivering administrative processes and working with the FSA and FCA to ensure compliance. Ian was the company’s first ever business development manager, and has been pivotal in building the now six-strong team of BDMs, whose expertise spans a range of sectors, services and products.

As a director, Ian will work closely with managing director, Gordon Andrews, and his fellow board members to continue Bathgate Business Finance’s expansion and support with team development, strengthening the board.

Building on his expertise in compliance, honed through his role as financial controller, Colin will take ownership of Bathgate’s relationship with Companies House, including responsibility for annual returns and other compliance requirements.

Colin Phillips, left, and Ian Adams

Managing director, Gordon Andrews, said: “These appointments are recognition of both Colin and Ian’s contribution to the business so far and their value and importance to its future.

“Much of Colin’s work has been behind-the-scenes, but it has been fundamental to our success and he has always been an extremely safe pair of hands. Ian has not only excelled personally in his job as BDM, but he has also always been enthusiastic about mentoring others to achieve similar results, which has allowed us to build a really excellent team.

“Having them both join our board of directors will strengthen our internal management team as we continue to experience significant and exciting growth for the company. On behalf of all of the board, I would like to thank them for their hard work to this point and congratulate them on their appointments – we have no doubt they’ll continue to be huge assets to Bathgate.”

Colin Phillips said: “It’s extremely flattering to have my work acknowledged in this way and I am extremely pleased to have been appointed to the board. Since I joined, Bathgate has gone from being just a lease company to a one-stop-shop for all SME finance. It’s been a real journey and I have learned so much along the way. I look forward to putting my compliance expertise to use in my new role.”

Ian Adams said: “I’m really proud to have been asked to join the board and the positive responses of my colleagues has been fantastic. I’m really looking forward to working with the board and the team to create and implement new strategies, support team development and provide the board with first-hand BDM experience, which will help inform senior management decisions.”


Chorley-based fulfilmentcrowd has appointed its first business development manager for France as it targets European expansion.

The business, which specialises in easily accessible and cost effective logistics services for fast growing eCommerce retailers, has appointed Kevin Plantier to drive growth of the company’s fulfilment centre in Lieusaint, France.

Located in Paris, Kevin joins from distribution software company DSD Europe in the Netherlands. He’ll draw on 11 years’ experience working across multiple sectors to grow fulfilmentcrowd’s offer among France-based eCommerce retailers.

Kevin Plantier

Kevin Plantier said: “What really excites me about joining fulfilmentcrowd and the opportunity to grow the business in France, is the company’s customer-centric approach. Online shopping in France is about five years behind the levels of maturity we’re seeing in the UK and many of the country’s eCommerce retailers are still perfecting sales and distribution strategies.”

Fulfilmentcrowd opened its Lieusaint fulfilment centre in December 2021, to initially support growing exports and international shipping from its UK customers, following investment from BGF. The business has driven growth by offering SME eCommerce retailers a supply chain management service that brings together cloud software and an innovative mobile app platform developed by in-house engineers. Its customers are also supported by a robust customer service team for those that prefer manual onboarding and support.

Lee Thompson, fulfilmentcrowd’s CEO, said: “We’ve built strong demand amongst UK-based SMEs who are selling large volumes of goods, by removing the friction of outsourcing the picking, packing and delivery of their customer orders. Kevin’s experience will prove extremely valuable in taking this offer to retailers in France. He’s got a strong background in logistics software.”

In addition to Kevin’s appointment as business development manager for France, fulfilmentcrowd is looking at creating similar roles in other countries across Europe.


Carr’s, the Cumbrian agriculture and engineering group, said, as part of the board’s plans for non-executive director succession, Shelagh Hancock and Stuart Lorimer have each been appointed as independent non-executive directors and will join the board on September 1, 2022.

Shelagh Hancock

Shelagh has more than 30 years’ experience in the food and agricultural supply sectors and is currently chief executive officer at First Milk, the British farmer-owned dairy co-operative, where she is highly respected for delivering significant growth in member returns since being appointed in 2017. Prior to this Shelagh held several executive positions across the UK dairy industry including at Milk Link, formerly Glanbia Foods, and Medina Dairy, having trained as an animal nutritionist.

Stuart is currently finance director at AG Barr, the FTSE-listed soft drinks brand owner, a role which he has held since 2015. Prior to this Stuart was with Diageo for 22 years in various senior roles working across Europe the USA and Asia, ultimately as finance director for Diageo’s global supply operation. Stuart brings strong finance expertise together with a wealth of experience in supply chain operations, logistics and business optimisation. He is a qualified accountant having begun his career at KPMG.

Stuart Lorimer

Upon appointment, Shelagh and Stuart will both serve as members of the board’s audit, nomination and remuneration committees.

Chairman, Peter Page, said: “On behalf of the board, I would like to welcome both Shelagh and Stuart to Carr’s.

“Shelagh’s strong academic background in animal nutrition, deep understanding of and credibility in UK livestock agriculture, and experience in developing a meaningful ESG agenda, will be valuable as we continue to advance the group’s agriculture businesses.

“Stuart brings broad experience following a well-rounded international career, which included significant time spent living and working in the USA, a key growth market for Carr’s. With his current role as finance director of a publicly listed company, Stuart’s relevant knowledge on developing financial and commercial issues will be beneficial in the development of future strategy.”


PHD Industrial Holdings, the North West-based conglomerate which acquires established SMEs, has appointed Richard Blackburn as group finance director.

Richard, who joins from architectural and engineering practice BDP, has 15 years’ experience in finance, having worked in accounting firms and held international roles in industry. He started his career with Mazars, where he qualified as a prize winning chartered accountant and later worked in audit at Deloitte.

Richard Blackburn

He went on to spend five years with Salford-based materials technology group Luxfer Holdings, leading audit across its locations worldwide, before becoming group financial controller of BDP, where he worked on the acquisition of a global stadium design firm and helped it to establish a presence in North America.

PHD Industrial Holdings, which is based in Daresbury, brings together seven companies with a combined turnover in excess of £60m and with more than 330 staff. It was previously known as PHD Equity Partners before changing its structure to become an industrial holding group a year ago in a move designed to provide greater flexibility for its shareholders.

Andy Dodd, director of PHD Industrial Holdings, said: “Richard’s strong technical skills and his experience working in conglomerate structures and dealing with compliance issues make him ideally suited to his new position. He will play a key role in the management team of PHD as we continue to look to deliver significant compounding capital growth for our shareholders as we move forward.”

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