People: Davis Blank Furniss; Pannone Corporate; Inteb; Leasing Options; APEM Group; Buttress; Vincents Solicitors; JD Sports; NCC Group

Lauren Sever and Rebecca Taylor

Davis Blank Furniss, the Manchester and Glossop-based law firm, has promoted Rebecca Taylor to partner in its dispute resolution team, and Lauren Sever to senior associate solicitor in the commercial, corporate and employment department.

Rebecca graduated from the University of Manchester in 2014 and completed her LPC at the College of Law. She joined Davis Blank Furniss as a trainee solicitor in September 2016 and was admitted as a solicitor in September 2018. Rebecca works on a variety of commercial and property disputes and, in particular, commercial contract disputes, shareholder disputes, beneficial ownership of property disputes, rights of way disputes and landlord/tenant disputes.

Lauren joined the firm in March 2017, initially in the personal injury team followed by a two-year training contract. On qualification in September 2019, she then moved across to the commercial, corporate and employment department. She now focuses on various matters including mergers and acquisitions, shareholder agreements, sale and purchase of businesses, company re-organisations and corporate assistance.

Richard Hamilton, managing partner of Davis Blank Furniss, said: “Rebecca and Lauren have become key members of the team, so we are delighted to announce their respective promotions – especially as they are both hugely talented and dedicated lawyers who put their clients at the centre of everything they do.”


David Walton

Pannone Corporate, the North West law firm, has expanded its team with the senior appointment of David Walton.

David joins Pannone’s regulatory team as partner, bringing more than 30 years’ experience to the role. He joins from Keoghs, where he played an instrumental role in establishing the crime and regulatory team, working throughout his career on high profile prosecutions instigated by the CPS, HSE, Environmental Health and the Environment Agency. This includes the CPS-led prosecution following the death of four employees in the Bosley Mill (Macclesfield) explosion in 2015.

Paul Jonson, senior partner at Pannone, said: “Client services is an integral part of our proposition as a firm and that can only be delivered by a highly skilled and talented team. We continue to build our expertise at all levels and David’s appointment is a significant hire – not only for the regulatory team, but the firm as a whole.

David said: “I believe my professional and personal background, and my approach to workplace life, is ideally suited to the Pannone culture and to the people who work there.”


Roger Bird

Energy and sustainability specialists Inteb has appointed industry specialist Roger Bird to the newly-created post of head of trading, risk and markets.

Roger takes up the role as the Birkenhead-based operation steps up its nationwide ambitious growth plans.

His appointment is part of a major internal reorganisation which will drive the business forward as it forecasts a significant growth surge and an expected 40% boost in activity for 2023.

Roger joins the business along with five other members of staff recently recruited to new key roles and working as part of Inteb’s core team of energy managers, engineers, chartered surveyors, utility and sustainability experts.

Chief operating officer, Tom Kelly, said: “Roger will play a vital part in delivering specific and tailor-made solutions for our clients as energy, environmental and sustainability issues continue to be one the most challenging global concerns facing commercial operations nationwide. The task of his team will be to monitor and analyse the global energy markets and thus form knowledgeable views to match each individual client’s needs.”


Harrison Walsh

Leasing Options, the Manchester-based car leasing firm, has announced its latest promotion, promoting Harrison Walsh to head of procurement.

The role will see Harrison take responsibility for maintaining and strengthening existing relationships with manufacturers, funders and dealers.

Walsh, who has been with Leasing Options for nine years, was previously pricing manager and responsible for overseeing the pricing team and function, ensuring competitiveness within the leasing market while also supporting the senior management team managing and expanding key relationships with manufacturers and partners.

Chief operating officer, Mike Thompson, said: “Harrison has been an incredible asset for Leasing Options and this promotion is well deserved. Harrison consistently goes above and beyond to support the management team and has successfully established himself as an integral part of our procurement function.

“This promotion is the first of a number of key developments within our business and we are looking forward to the next six months as we have a lot of exciting plans ahead.”

Harrison Walsh said: “I am so proud to have this new role and to be able to focus and work with the senior management team more and help shape the future of Leasing Options.”


Alistair Davison

Stockport-based APEM Group has appointed industry heavyweight Alistair Davison as the environmental consultancy continues its impressive growth trajectory.

Davison has joined from HaskoningDHV to become managing director of APEM’s marine and consents division. In his new role, he will be responsible for the continued growth of the division which now has a team of 140 sector experts.

Davison brings more than 20 years’ experience delivering Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) consultancy along with consent and technical engineering services to the global offshore wind, onshore wind, marine energy, and ports and harbours sectors.

Before joining APEM, he was EIA consultant on several notable offshore windfarm projects including Flotation Energy’s Morecambe Bay project, Orsted’s Hornsea Four, and Vattenfall’s Vanguard and Boreas projects.

He said: “I am thrilled to be joining APEM at such an exciting time.”

CSO, Leah McGimpsey, said: “Alistair’s appointment, along with Alex Campbell and Darroch Baker, is all part of our strategic plan that will see us continue to grow across UK&I and globally.”

CEO, Dr Adrian Williams, said: “Key to our continued growth is ensuring we attract and retain the best people in their field, which is why we are delighted to welcome Alistair. He has an excellent reputation and brings knowledge, experience and expertise that is very much in demand.”


From left: James Lewis, Chithra Marsh (front), Matthew Burl, Edward Kepczyk, Alex Scrimshaw, Jenna Johnston, Ben Tabiner

Design studio, Buttress, has announced a number of key promotions to its Manchester and Leeds-based teams.

In Manchester, senior heritage consultant, Jenna Johnston will be made associate. Senior technologist Alex Scrimshaw has been promoted to associate and will continue to work within the practice’s historic buildings team.

Ben Tabiner and Edward Kepczyk will be promoted to associate director. Chithra Marsh and Matthew Burl have each been promoted to directors.

James Lewis, based in Leeds, has been promoted to associate.

Buttress MD, Gavin Sorby, said: “We have a fantastic team of people in Manchester and Leeds who work across all sectors.

“This year, Buttress gained B Corp status which illustrates how we are fully dedicated to placing people first. All our work starts with our people, they are the key to our success, so we are fully committed to investing in everyone at Buttress enabling them to feel valued and work to their potential.”


David Hawke, left, and Mark Hooper

Mark Hooper has been appointed head of new business at Vincents Solicitors. His arrival comes as the Lancashire law firm invests in a new digital engagement and customer support strategy aimed at making life easier for clients.

Vincents is set to launch a new website and mobile app later in the year, designed to help improve the customer experience and streamline communications right from first contact. Mark will oversee both strategies.

Having spent a decade in the financial sector within an FCA regulated industry, Mark brings a wealth of knowledge in customer experience, engagement and support. He joins Vincents from NCO Europe where he worked on behalf of a major credit card provider overseeing the department which helped customers struggling to repay debt due to life-changing events like illness, divorce, job loss, bereavement and insolvency.

David Hawke, commercial and finance director, said: “Mark has a wealth of knowledge and experience in developing customer-focused service improvements, and digital engagement strategies, both of which will benefit our clients.

“As the business continues to grow, we are strengthening not only our legal teams but also the business development and administration departments which support them. We are investing in new systems and strategies to streamline internal processes and further improve our external client support, and Mark’s arrival is a key part of that.”


Bury-based JD Sports Fashion said Angela Luger and Darren Shapland will be appointed as non-executive directors, with effect from June 1, 2023. Angela will join the remuneration committee and Darren will join the audit and risk committee, with effect from the date of their appointment.

Angela Luger brings a wealth of retail and non-executive director experience to the board, with strong experience in digital commerce, digital transformation and marketing. She has recently been appointed as a non-executive director of Jet2, and currently acts as a non-executive director of New Look Retailers, Portmeirion Group, where she chairs the nomination committee, and SCS Group, where she acts as senior independent director).

She also acts as chair at Paint Traders and WealthiHer Network. Angela has held previous non-executive roles at Distribuidora Internacional de Alimentacion S.A. and Manchester Airports Holding. During her extensive career, Angela has held positions at Cadbury’s, Coca Cola and Asda and has acted as managing director at Debenhams and CEO at The Original Factory Shop and N Brown Group. Angela also acts a Trustee to the Pennies Foundation.

Darren Shapland has extensive experience in retail and consumer businesses over the past 35 years as both an executive and non-executive director. In recent years he has held a variety of non-executive chair and audit chair roles in FTSE 250 and FTSE 100 businesses including Poundland, Ferguson and Ladbrokes. He is currently chair of Topps Tiles as well as being chair/director of a number of privately owned businesses.

In his executive career Darren was CEO for Carpetright having previously been CFO of a number of large retailers including J Sainsbury, Carpetright, Superdrug (Kingfisher) and a number of divisions of The Burton Group.

Andrew Higginson, JD Sporrs chair, said: “I am delighted to welcome Angela and Darren to the JD board. They bring a wealth of retail expertise, strengthen the JD board’s Plc experience and complement the board’s existing skills and knowledge.”


Cyber security specialist, NCC Group, has appointed Diji Akinwale to the role of director of strategy and transformation with immediate effect.

This new role has been created as the Manchester-based group looks to implement and execute the updated strategy announced on February 2, and Diji will report directly to chief executive, Mike Maddison.

Diji joins the group from The Guardian where he served as group strategy director. In this role, Diji successfully supported the media group’s international growth while increasing recurring revenue and accelerating the development of its digital offering and capabilities. In his time at The Guardian, Diji was responsible for developing and delivering a plan to generate positive cashflow – a key objective and a milestone The Guardian achieved for the first time in many years in Diji’s final full year at the group.

Before The Guardian, Diji spent several years at McKinsey where he led digital strategy and transformation projects for clients across sectors including technology, financial services and the public sector.

Mike Maddison commenced his role as chief executive of NCC Group on July 7, 2022, and on February 2, 2023, the group announced the next chapter in its strategy which will deliver revenue from a broader service portfolio, addressing the full cyber security lifecycle, with deeper presence across sectors.

This will be supported by the activation of a global delivery model, including an offshore delivery and operations centre, and investment in the go-to-market model and brand for Cyber. Core to Diji’s responsibilities will be establishing a transformation management office resourced to deliver this next chapter of the strategy at pace.

Mike Maddison said: “Diji’s experience successfully developing and delivering enterprise-level transformation projects for some of the world’s most important organisations supports my confidence that he will be a great asset to our group. Diji has a grounding in client services and his sector experience means he understands both how we and our clients operate. I look forward to working closely with him as we pursue our strategy to create a more resilient business positioned to capitalise fully on opportunities to meet changing client needs in a dynamic cyber market.”

Diji Akinwale said: “This a fantastic opportunity to lend my experience and transformation expertise to a global business at the cutting edge of an exciting, fast-moving industry and at a critical moment in the group’s journey. Underpinned by a focus on insights, intelligence and innovation, NCC Group’s proposition and strategy mean it is well placed to deliver on its purpose of creating a more secure digital future, and I look forward to working with my new colleagues to contribute to this.”

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