People: fulfilmentcrowd; Vista Insurance; Aticus Law; Roxtec; Merseyrail; IDnow Group

New starters, from left: Nathan Kamuanga, Sam Statham, Kim Mills, Ronni Lang, Chelsea Banister, Tom Vosper

Chorley-based international fulfilment services provider fulfilmentcrowd has expanded its UK team with eight new hires across key departments to support the business’s continued growth and digital-first approach.

It provides the logistics software, client app and international network of distribution centres and shipping services that enable fast growing independent online retailers to cost effectively outsource their fulfilment services to meet customer demand and scale their businesses.

Leading the marketing team, Ronni Lang joins as head of marketing from her previous role as senior channel marketing manager at Crown Paints, alongside Sean Black who has been appointed head of paid digital. Tom Heaton has also been appointed as a UX designer.

Sam Williams joins the team as a financial planning and analysis manager and will be responsible for analysing fulfilmentcrowd’s customer and sales data to pinpoint trends that will inform and enhance the business’s development strategy and service offering.

Chelsea Banister, Kim Mills, Nathan Kamuanga and Tom Vosper join the customer experience team to further enhance the business’s customer-centric approach and provide support to e-commerce retailers. Nathan speaks multiple languages including French, Spanish and German, which will be utilised to support customers in other geographies as part of the business’s continued global expansion. Alexander Black and Ashlea Bing have both been promoted from customer support advisors to team leaders.

The BGF-backed business is also recruiting for a number of other new roles across all departments, including plans to appoint a business development manager in Germany as it continues to expand its European network, as well as further developing its leading logistics software and app.

Lee Thompson, fulfilmentcrowd’s CEO, said: “We experienced rapid growth during the pandemic as we were well equipped to support retailers turning to e-commerce with self-onboarding and plentiful capacity in our network. Now, there’s a huge opportunity to build our network across Europe, helping customers scale their businesses and enter new markets. To do this, we need the right team and technology in place to simplify overseas trading.

“We’ve invested in our customer experience team to provide frontline support, as well as developing the fulfilmentcrowd app that allows customers to self-serve. We’re forecasting a 20% uplift in revenue this year and expect the European business to continue growing as more retailers look to grow their sales overseas.”

Ronni Lang, head of marketing, said: “There’s real opportunity in the market for us right now and building extensive in-house capability within our team is key to driving our product-first proposition forward. It’s fantastic to be part of an enthusiastic and engaged team that’s aligned and ready to work cross-functionally to support new and existing customers scale their operations by providing easy-to-use technology that breaks down the barriers to entering new retail markets.”

In addition to expanding its team in the UK, fulfilmentcrowd has also appointed Kevin Plantier as business development manager in France. In 2021, fufilmentcrowd opened its first distribution centre in France in Lieusaint, near Paris.


Dan Blake has joined the senior management team of Manchester-based Vista Insurance, in the new role of head of private equity.

It comes eight years from the date the Vista management team went independent and formed the business.

Dan is a Chartered Insurance Broker and joins Vista from Arthur J Gallagher Insurance Brokers, where he managed a portfolio of clients, mainly in manufacturing and contracting, paying premiums in excess of £4m.

He began his career with technical specialist J K Lee, now part of the Howden Group, and brings a wealth of analytical expertise with him to this new role.

Dan Blake

While Dan will add further strength to the Vista construction team, his key role will be to lead Vista’s private equity practice. With experience that spans owner-managed businesses to multi-national corporate organisations, many of whom were backed by private equity investors, Dan is excited to be bringing his insurance due diligence skills to the fast-paced Vista team.

Vista CEO, Gavin Ruben, said: “We are sure Dan’s expertise within the private equity insurance sector will prove invaluable to the business and grow our private equity presence in the market.”

With more than 300 due diligence projects handled in the past five years and currently supporting more than 400 private equity and portfolio clients, Vista is already a leading provider of due diligence and portfolio services to the private equity sector.

Dan said: “Vista is growing in success and I’m confident about what this working relationship can achieve – even more private equity deals and many more satisfied clients.”

In 2021 Vista had one of its most successful years. It had its highest growth rate (40%) since starting the business, grew the company’s headcount by 21% including hires in marketing, compliance, account handling, and sales, and its gross written premiums grew to in excess of £25m.


North West law firm Aticus Law has boosted its private client services offering in the region with the appointment of Safia Iftikhar as its new head of wills, trusts and probate.

Bringing years of experience to the role, Safia joins from Simpson Millar, having previously progressed through the ranks of multiple nationally accredited law firms.

Safia Iftikhar

A specialist in private client legal services – wills, lasting power of attorney and probate – she has helped hundreds of clients with their future planning. She has dealt with a national client base, managing offices within Greater Manchester, Cheshire and Merseyside.

She will now lead Aticus’s strong wills, trust and probate team, operating out of its offices in Wilmslow and Manchester.

Safia said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Aticus team following what has been an extremely busy period for the firm. The team has a fantastic reputation across the North West, and I’m looking forward to further building on that in the months ahead.”

Aticus co-founder and partner, Edward Judge, said: “We could not be more pleased to welcome Safia to the team.

“Not only does she have a wealth of experience and expertise that will truly enhance the existing wills, trusts and probate offering here at Aticus, but she is also extremely motivated and passionate about helping people.

“Her arrival at the firm truly complements our wider private client offering.”


Cable and pipe seal manufacturer Roxtec has appointed a new power and process industries technical manager.

In his new role for the Greater Manchester-based business, Stephen Hardcastle will help to further build the Roxtec presence in a wide range of industrial sectors.

Stephen has a strong background in a number of industries, including the production and delivery of specialist chemicals and gases, in roles ranging from sales and business development to account and quality management.

Stephen Hardcastle

Swedish-owned Roxtec, which has its UK headquarters in Waterfold Business Park in Bury, continues to see growth in the power and process industries markets.

Roxtec’s cable and pipe seals are found widely in sectors ranging from mining and metals to the onshore oil, gas and petrochemical sectors as well as pulp and paper plants.

Roxtec UK managing director, Clive Sharp, said: “Stephen has a wide range of experience and will have a key role in helping deliver further growth for the business in the power and process industries markets, which play such a major part in our long term growth strategy.”

Stephen said: “The business is known across the world for its engineering excellence and a big part of my job is getting out there to support our customers, helping them find the solutions that really work for them.”


Train operator, Merseyrail, has appointed James Connor as its new corporate communications manager.

He has joined the organisation from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), a lobbying and membership organisation, where he was publications manager from 2013, overseeing all customer communications via print, online and social media.

James Connor

Prior to working for the FSB, James worked as a sub editor for several regional and national publications.

He brings a wealth of experience to the team.

Greg Suligowski, Merseyrail head of customer strategy, said: “James is a key member of my management team and he will lead on all aspects of our media and day to day stakeholder relations.”

James Connor said: “I’m looking forward to engaging with all our stakeholders across the Liverpool City Region and throughout the rest of the UK.”


IDnow group, a European provider of identity proofing and digital identities, has appointed Mike Kiely as its sales director for financial services.

Based in IDnow’s Manchester office, Kiely brings with him decades of experience in data and biometrics, most recently heading up Identity and Biometric sales at GBG, and will drive the firm’s substantial growth ambitions in the financial sector in the UK.

Kiely’s appointment represents the firm’s ongoing investment into the UK market, with ambitions to become a leader in the UK’s financial services industry, and a global leader in the sector.

Mike Kiely

Mike Kiely said: “As a German business, IDnow has built a platform that meets some of the world’s strictest compliance and regulation requirements, while offering the broadest portfolio of identity proofing methods.

“As such, it is in an incredibly unique position, able to support businesses in their identity proofing needs who are looking to scale beyond their UK territory, and into geographies that are inherently difficult to penetrate such as France and Germany.”

Benjamin Haas, senior sales director at IDnow, said: “Since we acquired ARIADNEXT and IdentityTM last year, we have been immersed in our growth plans and in bolstering our position as one of the strongest identity verification and document signing players in Europe.

“Mike’s appointment signifies our continued efforts to establish a substantial foothold, particularly in the UK’s flourishing financial services sector. Mike’s experience will help ensure our expansion ambitions become a reality, so we’re really excited to welcome him to the team.”

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