People: Roma Finance; MaxContact; Baron & Cabot; MoneyPlus Group; EG Group; Together

Roma Finance underwriting team

Roma Finance, the Manchester-based ‘borrower first’ lender, has expanded its underwriting team in response to the continued demand within the bridging and development finance sector.

In 2023, the company has strengthened its department by recruiting three additional underwriters – Shane Francis, Jason Metcalfe and Katie Devine.

Led by Lorraine Hart, head of credit, the department now consists of senior underwriters Adrian France, Jack Ainsworth, Shane Francis and Katie Devine, underwriting team leader James Edwards and underwriters Scott Brooks, Farah Akhtar, Kai Shahban and Jason Metcalfe, who are divided into two specialised teams. The Flow team focuses on short term bridging loans and utilises a streamlined underwriting process, enabling faster case completions. Meanwhile, the Structured team undertakes a more comprehensive process for complex cases.

Lorraine Hart said “As the head of the underwriting department, I am delighted that we have been joined by the exceptional talents of Shane, Jason and Katie this year. Their contributions have made a significant positive impact on our structured underwriting team, particularly in light of the remarkable growth we’ve experienced within the business recently.”


Howard Watson

MaxContact, the customer engagement software provider, has appointed Howard Watson as its new sales director, having recently held a sales leadership role at CCaaS provider, Puzzel.

Previous sales director, Richard Coward, transitions to enterprise and strategic partner director.

Howard Watson brings nearly 30 years of sales experience, including more than two decades in the UCaaS (Unified Communications as a Service) and CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) industries. During his career, Howard has successfully managed various sales functions, including direct sales, partner sales, and territories.

Ben Booth, CEO of Manchester-based MaxContact, said: “Howard joins the business with great experience in growing and maturing sales functions. He has a proven track record that will open new avenues for us in the future.

“Importantly, Howard shares our vision for the business and aligns with our core value of a people-first approach.”

Richard Coward said: “Howard will bring a wealth of experience from his previous roles in our industry, helping us to accelerate our business growth. I am excited to work with him during this next chapter of our company’s evolution.”

Howard said: “My mission is to foster sustainable growth for MaxContact by working in close partnership with new and existing clients, building upon the exceptional work our team has already accomplished.”


Daniel Pennington

Baron & Cabot has welcomed Daniel Pennington to its Manchester office as its new head of sales for UK and Europe, marking the third strategic hire this month.

With a distinguished career spanning over a decade, Daniel brings a wealth of experience to the role and has a proven track record of launching and delivering flagship schemes for investors. Most recently, Daniel worked as head of sales and marketing for the NPP.

Baron & Cabot is a property investment specialist and CEO, Mark Pearson, said: “Daniel is a huge step towards our goal of being the largest direct UK property sales company in the world. Daniel will be responsible for building out the UK office.”


Michael Shaw

MoneyPlus Group, the Manchester-based parent company behind the brand, MoneyPlus Advice, a provider of regulated debt advice, has appointed Michael Shaw to the position of chairman of the group, and Deen Khan to the position head of business performance.

Michael brings a wealth of experience from his time as a senior executive and general counsel with NatWest Group and Barclays Group, and before that as a partner at international law firm, Herbert Smith Freehills.

He said: “I am excited to be joining the talented MoneyPlus Group board and look forward to using my skills and experience to help the business continue to grow its debt advice services for customers experiencing hardships during these challenging times.”

Deen Khan

Deen has an extensive background in the financial services sector, having previously worked for Lowell, Virgin Money, HSBC (First Direct) and St James Wealth Management.

He said: “The projects I am actively engaged in are extremely exciting, impactful and it’s great to have the opportunity to make a really telling contribution.”

CEO of MoneyPlus Group, Chris Davis, said “We’ve put a lot of time and effort into identifying and hiring our new chairman and head of business performance, ensuring we appoint individuals who share our core values and principles.

“With their respective backgrounds, Michael and Deen will be great ambassadors for the culture we’re building here at MoneyPlus and we’re delighted they’ve accepted our invitation to be part of the journey, supporting myself, my colleagues and our investors as we grow the group in line with the core aspiration of making the lives better for all of our customers.”


John Carey

EG Group has appointed John Carey as CEO and President of EG America, effective from October 1,2023, to drive forward its successful growth strategy in the US.

John brings significant experience of operating global businesses and a track record of delivering high quality returns. He has previously held senior executive positions including at BP plc and ADNOC Distribution, where as deputy CEO, he led its IPO on the Abu Dhabi stock exchange in 2018.

John already has detailed knowledge of Blackburn-based EG Group’s operations having been a non-executive member of the board since November 2020. As a result of this appointment, John will become an executive director on the board, and EG Group will commence a process to identify and appoint a new non-executive director to join the board in due course.

For EG Group, the US is a core strategic market with multiple opportunities to grow organically through the continued delivery of its proven convenience retail, foodservice and fuel offering. John will succeed George Fournier, who stepped back as EG America President in the fourth quarter of last year for personal reasons, before returning in the spring to support the business.

The interim EG America President, Nick Unkovic, will revert to his role as Chief Legal and Administrative Officer of EG America.

Zuber Issa, co-founder and co-CEO of EG Group, said: “John is the ideal leader to drive forward EG America’s proven strategy. He has an excellent track record and knowledge of the sector, as well as a detailed understanding of the group’s ambitious plans for EG America. We look forward to working closely with John in his new role as we continue to execute our growth strategy with the support of US colleagues.

“I would like to sincerely thank Nick and George for their continued contribution and support.”

John Carey said: “EG Group is a great business, which I have learned first-hand. EG America has a strong platform and a clear strategy to drive growth at its market-leading sites through enhancing its convenience retail and foodservice offering across its much loved banners. It will be a privilege for me to lead EG America and I very much look forward to meeting colleagues and key stakeholders.”

EG America is the Group’s largest market, both by revenue and sites, reflecting how it owns and operates 1,645 convenience store and fuel retail sites across 10 banners in 30 states: Cumberland Farms, Certified Oil, Fastrac, Kwik Shop, Loaf N’ Jug, Minit Mart, Quik Stop, Sprint, Tom Thumb, and Turkey Hill.

In 2022, EG America delivered total revenue of $10.2bn. EG Group launched in the US in 2018, when it acquired Kroger’s 762-site convenience store business, giving it the platform to grow strongly both organically and through acquisitions.


Stuart Heslop

An industry leader with more than three decades of banking expertise has joined Cheadle-based specialist lender Together to advise the group’s corporate team.

Stuart Heslop, the former managing director of real estate finance at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) joined the finance group as a consultant.

Stuart, 53, moved from RBS last year following a successful 35-year career with the bank, including more than 14 years heading up its real estate finance business in Scotland and the North of England.

He begins his new consultancy role for Together in Scotland and the North of England this month.

He said: “I’m excited to be able to help further expand the Together brand across Scotland and the North of England as the business continues it’s phenomenal growth, as well as advising the leadership team.”

Chris Baguley group channel development director at Together, said “Stuart is known as a leader in the industry not just in Scotland but across the UK, so it’s with great pride that we’ve been able to appoint someone of such high calibre to advise on how we can grow the success of our business.”