People: FEC; PwC; ITS Technology Group; RVA Surveyors; Merseyrail; Avison Young; Cheetham Bell

Gemma Price

Far East Consortium (FEC), the developer bringing forward Manchester’s Victoria North project, has created a new estates division with the addition of Gemma Price to its senior leadership.

Gemma joins FEC’s Manchester office as managing director of its newly established FEC Estates division, which will develop a high quality residential service offering and estates management proposition as it delivers a pipeline of 15,000 homes over the next decade.

As a member of FEC’s senior leadership team in Manchester, her initial focus will be to work alongside its development and delivery teams to inform and influence the design of all future schemes. Gemma will also have responsibility for the operational management of existing developments, working alongside FEC’s estate management partners at its completed schemes, which include MeadowSide and New Cross Central.

Bringing more than 20 years’ experience to the role, she joins FEC from Urban Bubble where she oversaw a portfolio of 9,000 homes. Prior to this, she spent six years with investor-developer Bruntwood as head of property management.

Gemma said: “It’s an incredibly exciting time to become a part of FEC and establish this new division as the first phases of Victoria North start to take shape. The project represents a major addition to Manchester’s residential community, and I’m looking forward to helping influence the living experience of 40,000 new residents and the design of the seven diverse neighbourhoods they will come to call home.”

Gavin Taylor, regional director at FEC, said: “It’s a pleasure to welcome Gemma to FEC as we continue to build out a team of local specialists to deliver what is one of the UK’s largest urban regeneration projects and the largest in the city’s history.”


Zeynep Turunc

PwC has admitted six new partners and 16 new directors in the latest round of promotions in the North.

Across all of the 22 senior promotions, 11 will be based in Manchester, nine in Leeds and two in Newcastle.

Jonathan Lloyd has been promoted to tax partner. He has been with PwC since 1990 and has been based in the North for his entire career, supporting clients in the UK and globally, meeting their reporting requirements to stakeholders.

Craig Willis, who joined the firm in 2008, will become an audit partner, focusing on growing the Northern business unit, and supporting PwC’s people in their growth and development within the firm, with a particular focus on social mobility.

Zeynep Turunc is promoted to deals partner. She has lived in Manchester for more than 20 years and is responsible for the growth of PwC’s financial crime practice in Manchester and Scotland. She joined the firm in 2018.

Dan Pearson is promoted to audit partner. He leads PwC’s stakeholder assurance work in the firm’s Northern region (Northern England, Scotland and Northern Ireland), focusing on issuing audit-style opinions over metrics, statements, processes and controls beyond the financial statements.

Georgie Bryce will join the deals practice, leading PwC’s Deals insights and analytics team in the North West and will focus on deploying advanced analytics to drive value across the deal lifecycle. She joined the firm in 2011.

Andy Russell will become an audit partner, and has been with PwC since 2010. His new role will be an audit engagement partner for clients across a variety of sectors, supporting businesses in the region by leading high quality external audits.

Armoghan Mohammed, regional chair for PwC North, said: “Our Northern teams have had another strong year, and this comes down to the hard work of our people. With challenges and opportunities presenting themselves in areas such as technology, AI and ESG, these new partners and directors will help us and our clients navigate the external market.”

Across the UK firm, PwC will make 69 partner promotions this summer, and admit five further direct partner hires.


Simon Wort

Cheshire-based wholesale full fibre provider ITS Technology Group (ITS) has appointed Simon Wort as chief revenue officer, a newly created position with responsibility for its go-to-market functions, including marketing, sales, and business development.

Reporting into CEO Daren Baythorpe, Wort joins ITS from Arrow Business Communications where he was chief commercial officer having navigated the business through significant revenue expansion, investment, and a series of acquisitions.

Wort’s appointment is the result of an organisational change to place further focus on revenue-generating activity.

Daren Baythorpe said: “As a business we have invested heavily in increasing our delivery capabilities to roll-out full fibre where our partners need access for their end users. Simon’s experience and ‘people first’ approach will bring a lot to the table. I am excited to see how he will drive further value into our go-to-market strategy and roadmap, while aligning us for our next stage of growth.”

Simon Wort said: “ITS’s commitment to people, partners, innovation, and market excellence align perfectly with my own values. It has built a powerful wholesale business connectivity proposition and I am excited to join at a pivotal time as it continues to scale at pace.”


David Waldron

RVA Surveyors has appointed David Waldron as senior surveyor, with the remit of continuing to grow and support its team of surveyors.

Previously David has worked within the disciplines of acquisition, lease consultancy, rating – both council and private sector – and property management. With more than 18 years as a multi-disciplined surveyor, he brings an abundance of experience to the role.

David is the newest in a series of appointments to the management team at the Denton-based firm. He said: “I am very excited by the size of the opportunity here at RVA and how we can work together.”

David’s appointment will see him take a place as part of the firm’s management team, and as a RICS certified mentor, focusing on mentoring the surveying team and helping guide the department into new avenues.

Clare Whitfield, head of surveying and operations, said: “I am looking forward to working closely with David as we develop our surveying team further. And as we look to creating additional services, I know that his experience and help will be invaluable in this endeavour. As David is a RICS certified mentor, we are also pleased that he will be mentoring our team of surveyors to their APC.”

Managing director, Anthony Hughes, said: “We are extremely pleased that David has joined RVA. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge and will act as a guiding hand and mentor to elevate our surveyors’ knowledge and expertise even further.”


Neil Grabham

Neil Grabham has been named as the new managing director of Merseyrail and is expected to take up his post in mid-August.

Currently the customer services director for East Midlands Railway, Neil brings a wealth of experience both from the rail sector and beyond, having previously undertaken senior leadership roles for Greater Anglia, Signet Jewellers and Lidl.

He replaces Andy Heath, who left Merseyrail earlier this summer and Jane English who has been acting managing director for the past 10 months. Merseyrail, which runs 600 rail services per day across the city region, is currently part-way through the roll-out of a new £500m fleet of class 777 trains onto the network as part of a significant modernisation programme on behalf of the Liverpool City Region Combined Authority.

Neil Grabham said: “I feel very proud to have been given the opportunity to lead the fantastic team at Merseyrail, who I know share my ambition to deliver a railway that the communities we serve can be proud of.  This is an exciting time of transformation, with new trains being introduced, and the opportunity to deliver real improvements in the journey experiences of our customers.”

Merseyrail’s shareholders are Transport UK and Serco. Dominic Booth, CEO of Transport UK, said: “I am very pleased that Neil will be taking over as managing director at Merseyrail at such an exciting and transformational time for the business. Neil’s focus on the customer and providing the best possible operational service levels, will be a great fit for the city region.”

John Whitehurst, managing director of Serco’s transport business, said: “Neil brings with him a wealth of experience and a real focus on customer service, which is so important for Merseyrail as we continue to transform the service on the back of the new train introduction.”


Stephen Cowperthwaite and Nick Walkley

Global real estate firm, Avison Young, has appointed Stephen Cowperthwaite as managing director of UK regions, in a move that reflects the business’s wider UK growth strategy to build partnerships and relationships in towns and cities across the country.

Having acted as regional managing director (RMD) of Avison Young’s Liverpool office for more than eight years, Stephen has established himself as part of the city and the wider property and regeneration sector across the North, building relationships with leading figures, local authorities, developers and occupiers, all of which has allowed him to deliver excellence for the firm, it said.

His commitment to the industry is also reflected in his position as chair of Liverpool Place Partnership, and as a member of the Professional Liverpool board and Governor at Chesterfield High School, Crosby, where he is passionate about raising aspirations and diversifying the talent pool in the property sector.

In his new position, he will continue to act as MD for Liverpool while overseeing all RMDs in a role that will largely focus on continuing to foster stronger partnerships between the regions and both UK and foreign investors.

Stephen Cowperthwaite said: “I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role, which will enable me to continue to build on great strategic public-private partnerships across the UK. I am keen for this new role to help drive our strategy as we build on the heritage that Avison Young has across the whole of the UK, by strengthening the experiences and the relationships we’ve established as we continue to create spaces and places of real change.”

Nick Walkley, Avison Young UK president, said: “During his time as RMD in Liverpool, Stephen has illustrated what it means to be a true regional advisor with the results and relationships that have been cultivated.

“The way in which he has acted as an advocate, networker, and sometimes as a critical friend to ensure that our public and private sector clients can deliver transformative projects across the UK, is something we want to see happening in regions across the country. This role was made for Stephen, and we believe both clients and colleagues are going to benefit from this appointment.”


Hayley Platt and Amy Berriman

Manchester’s big ideas creative agency, Cheetham Bell, part of EssenceMediacom North, has made two new senior hires.

Following the company’s move to the new WPP Manchester Campus at the start of the summer, the brand has continued to grow in strength and now report on a marque signing. The creative Manchester duo, Hayley Platt and Amy Berriman, have been working together for some 12 years and are well versed in elevating a brand through creativity and design having worked at agencies including McCann Manchester and Forever Beta.

Leighton Horsley, partner at Cheetham Bell, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome such an amazing team to Cheetham Bell. It means we can continue to put high quality creative ideas at the heart of our business, which is something we’ve been doing for over 30 years. Having worked with Amy and Hayley previously on a freelance basis, we knew they would be the perfect fit for Cheetham Bell.”

Hayley and Amy said: “Cheetham Bell have some really exciting clients on board and a great team around them, which we’re delighted to now be a part of.”