People: Poke Marketing; Cole Waterhouse; Lanier, Longstaff, Hedar & Roberts; Persimmon; DSW Ventures; fulfilmentcrowd

Nicola Docking

Poke Marketing has appointed Nicola Docking as its new managing director as the company looks towards its third year of operation.

Nicola will move from head of strategy to her new role to lead the team of 10. The Liverpool-based business is on track to hit a seven-figure turnover target in the next 12 months and to welcome a further six members of staff.

Founding members, Andrew Binns and Mark Harrington, will continue as Poke’s director and creative director, respectively, while Nicola bolsters the company’s impressive growth plans with her proven track record of working with the organisation since its inception.

Andrew said: “Nicola’s expertise, combined with the existing talent pool and resources that we are proud to have here at Poke, will ensure our agency’s continued success in delivering for our clients. We’re no longer a group of ex-agency directors who had a vision to create something brilliant. We’re there now and we’re being noticed for the impact that we are having.”

Nicola said: “As Poke Marketing looks to the future, we remain dedicated to fostering collaborative relationships, embracing emerging technologies, and staying at the forefront of consumer behaviour and global marketing trends.”


Amy Butler

Cole Waterhouse has appointed Amy Butler to the position of commercial manager to oversee the construction and delivery of the company’s projects across the industrial, logistics and residential sectors.

Amy joins the growing Manchester-based company from Graham Investments, where she held the position of commercial lead working across schemes in the North ranging in size from £10-£100m. Prior to Graham Investments, Amy was deputy development director at Investar Property Group where she was responsible for managing the commercial development team, working across public and private sector joint venture partnerships.

Amy is the latest recruit to the Cole Waterhouse team which last year saw the appointment of David Nuttall as managing director of its I&L division while Simon Gallanders was promoted to lead the company’s residential arm as managing director.

Damian Flood, CEO, said: “Amy’s appointment comes at an exciting time for the business as we move forward with the delivery of a number of major projects across the country. Amy is a great addition to the team and will be a valuable asset in helping us to deliver these projects at scale, on budget and on time.”

Amy said: “Having worked on a wide range of schemes operating in both public and private sector, I have developed a keen eye for detail, managing scheme appraisals, construction contracts and build costs. Cole Waterhouse is behind some incredibly exciting developments and I’m looking forward to working with them in a position where I can continue to develop my commercial skills and really immerse myself in each project.”


Montse Skyner

Manchester law firm Lanier, Longstaff, Hedar & Roberts, has hired former Clyde & Co lawyer, Montse Skyner, as a legal director to support its growing business as it continues to work on more group actions, including against talcum powder manufacturers.

The firm, set up last year to target corporate wrongdoing on a large scale, is the first in the UK to target several pharmaceutical companies over the presence of asbestos in talcum powder sold to the mass consumer market. It now has hundreds of UK-based claimants. The claims include allegations that talc manufacturers breached their duty of care to consumers.

The appointment of Montse bolsters the firm’s Manchester base, with further hires imminent. Montse qualified with claimant firm Beresfords in 2006, before joining Clyde & Co in 2008, where she spent 12 years, latterly as deputy head of industrial disease and legacy claims in Manchester.

She said: “I became a solicitor to help people get justice and this is a rare opportunity to help shape the growth of a unique firm doing important work.”

Co-founder, Tom Longstaff, said: “Montse brings a compelling mix of claimant, defendant, and law firm management experience, all of which will be incredibly useful to our growth ambitions.”


Ian Hilliker

Housebuilder Persimmon has appointed a new managing director to head up its operations across the North West region.

Ian Hilliker joins with more than 30 years of experience in the industry, most recently serving as North West managing director at Vistry Partnerships. Prior to his role at Vistry, he spent 18 years at Barratt Homes with 11 years as technical director working out of their Manchester office.

He will oversee progress on nine developments already operational throughout the region in areas including Liverpool, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester.

Ian said: “I’m thrilled to be joining Persimmon and head up the North West team at what is a really exciting time for the business. With several developments already under way and applications progressing well with planning authorities, I’m looking forward to working with communities and policy makers to deliver much needed, high quality new homes.”

Regional chair, John Roocroft, said “Ian has a wealth of industry experience that is sure to be invaluable in delivering these plans and I look forward to working closely with him.”


Edward Lee

DSW Ventures, the venture capital arm of the Daresbury-based Dow Schofield Watts network, has launched a new student intern programme giving undergraduates a rare opportunity to gain experience in the industry during a year-long placement.

The programme is open to those studying for a relevant degree – such as business, economics, accounting and finance – on a ‘sandwich’ course which allows for a year to be spent in industry. The programme will continue indefinitely, with a new intern placed each year. The first candidate chosen by the firm is Edward Lee, an Economics and Management student at Loughborough University.

Keith Benson, co-founder of DSW Ventures, said: “The DSW Ventures intern programme aims to help develop the next generation of VCs and show them that there are exciting opportunities for a career in investing outside of London.

“The traditional route would be for candidates to obtain a degree, then qualify as an accountancy professional and gain experience in an audit or tax advisory role before moving into venture capital. Our programme will allow for students to work as a VC for a year as part of their degree, gaining invaluable experience which will open up many more career options on graduation.”

He added: “We were astonished with the student interest in this placement and are delighted to have recruited someone of Edward’s talent and enthusiasm for our industry.”

As part of the programme, Edward will work on a variety of projects, including sourcing and evaluating investment opportunities, conducting due diligence, and supporting the firm’s portfolio companies. He will also have the opportunity to attend industry events and meet with other VC professionals.

He said: “I am thrilled to be joining the DSW Ventures team and to have the opportunity to learn from some of the best investors in the business. I am looking forward to gaining valuable experience in the venture capital industry and the breadth of opportunities provided by this internship.”


Jonathan Davies and Sunil Nand

Chorley-based fulfilmentcrowd, an international fulfilment technology and services provider, has strengthened its senior team with a duo of new appointments.

Jonathan Davies joins the business as chief financial officer from AIM-listed business, Victorian Plumbing, where he was head of commercial finance. He brings more than 10 years’ experience in senior commercial finance, as well as planning and analyst roles, having worked closely with leadership teams and boards to deliver operationally focused financial support, enhancing strategic delivery and profitability.

In his new role Jon will be responsible for fulfilmentcrowd’s commercial oversight; leveraging the company’s internal data to develop financial systems, controls and reporting processes to build a robust and scalable platform to service the company’s international growth plans.

He said: “Having held senior finance roles across a range of businesses and sectors, I have experience of what good looks like and I’m very much looking forward to identifying and implementing the right processes that will support fulfilmentcrowd’s progressive plans. I have a great foundation to build on, put in place by my predecessor, Peter Hosker, and aim to support the business on its ambitious growth trajectory.”

Sunil Nand also joins fulfilmentcrowd as head of business development. Sunil will be responsible for driving growth opportunities across clothing, footwear and accessories as well as beauty and cosmetics product categories. He brings a wealth of business development experience from across the retail supply chain sector, having held previous roles with GXO Logistics and, most recently, Radial Europe.

He said: “Fulfilmentcrowd has a unique proposition as a 3PL provider in its ability to create bespoke technology-driven solutions that meet the individual needs of its retail customers. I’m looking forward to introducing more brands to fulfilmentcrowd’s service offering and to help them realise growth opportunities both in the UK and international markets.”

CEO, Lee Thompson, said: “Both Jon and Sunil join the business at a pivotal time. Over the last 12 months we’ve focused on building an experienced business development team and driving growth across the UK and Europe within our fulfilment partner network.

“Sunil’s sector knowledge will prove invaluable in supporting current customers and developing new relationships with retailers. Jon’s experience and skillset, particularly in the areas of data and automation, is exactly what we need to enhance operational efficiency in order to scale the business further.”

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