People: Cole Waterhouse; Acorn by Synergie; Smoking Gun; Sale Sharks; RSM; Auxesia Homes

Emma Courtney

Cole Waterhouse has appointed Emma Courtney as asset manager, the latest in a series of new hires the company has made as it delivers a strong pipeline of projects across the Midlands and the North.

Emma, who joins from logistics business Mileway, will be supporting Cole Waterhouse’s residential and industrial and logistic development teams on the completion and management of a number of live projects and will also take the lead on the business’s ESG strategy.

CWH has two focused divisions, residential, which is led by managing director Simon Gallanders, and industrial and logistics, which is headed up by David Nuttall who joined the business last year. Amy Butler was also recruited as commercial manager this summer and an office manager role has also been created to support the growing business.

Emma, who will be based in Manchester, said: “It’s great to join the Cole Waterhouse team at a time when the company has some exciting live schemes and a strong pipeline of future developments coming through.”

CEO, Damian Flood, said: “We’re proud to welcome Emma to the team. She will be invaluable in helping manage these key assets and to maximise the return for our investors, JV partners and deliver the best experience for our occupiers and residents.”

Last month Cole Waterhouse and its JV partner, Taurus Investment Holdings, announced the completion of Eda, its 290 apartment BTR scheme which is the tallest residential scheme in Salford Quays.

Cole Waterhouse’s I&L team is also approaching completion of phase 1 of Konect 62, a 135-acre I&L scheme at Kellingley and has plans in development for a second phase to come forward next year.


Carla Powell

Acorn by Synergie has appointed Carla Powell as its new regional logistics manager for the North, as it looks to expand on its operations within the sector across the North of England as a whole.

Carla brings with her extensive experience of the logistics industry regionally and will be working with clients and candidates in the North, in response to an increasing demand for Acorn by Synergie’s services locally.

Carla has more than 15 years of experience within the recruitment industry. She previously worked for Major Recruitment, and as an operations manager for Preston-based firm, Driver Hire Nationwide.

She said: “I’m absolutely thrilled to be joining Acorn by Synergie as part of a move which, in many ways, feels like ‘coming home’ to me. I’m excited to be joining such a warm and welcoming group of colleagues based here in the North of England, and across the rest of the UK, too.”

Managing director, Bernard Ward, said: “Given her extensive knowledge and experience of both the local region and the UK logistics industry as a whole, Carla is absolutely the right person to help us expand further on our presence in the North, and help the wider business continue to go from strength to strength in the process.”


Caroline Aspinall

Smoking Gun has strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of a commercial director and head of B2B.

Caroline Aspinall will be responsible for helping to grow the agency, while developing Smoking Gun’s B2B offering.

With a successful track record in director roles both in-house and within agencies, the former journalist will shape the future commercial success of the agency and help the team navigate an ambitious growth phase.

Caroline said: “Smoking Gun has a reputation for its brilliant and experienced team and I am over the moon to have joined them on this exciting scale-up journey. With ambitious growth plans comes a raft of amazing opportunities for clients and colleagues as we develop both new sector and new service offerings.”

Since joining the agency Caroline has led a B2B-focused new business drive, winning clients in property, finance and travel.

MD, Rick Guttridge, said: “Finding senior talent that matches both your culture and ambition is always challenging but we’ve done that with Caroline who is the latest strong addition to our highly respected and established leadership team. She brings a wealth of storytelling experience from her roots in journalism allied to a proven track record of operating in senior director agency roles.”


Paul Smith

Sale Sharks has appointed former prop, Paul Smith, as the club’s new chief executive.

Paul, 54, joined the Sharks Colts team at the age of 18 and played more than 150 games for Sale between 1988 and 2000, many in the front-row alongside twin brother Andrew.

He joined the club staff after injury forced him to retire, and took up a role in the club’s finance team, before becoming team manager under Philippe Saint-Andre. He moved on to become the club’s operations manager, then operations director and, most recently, interim CEO.

Paul said: “It’s a massive honour to be given this role and I want to thank our co-owners Simon, Michelle and Ged for putting their faith in me. If you’d have told me as an 18-year-old making my debut that this is where I would be 36 years later I wouldn’t have believed it.

“First and foremost, I’m a Sharks fan and I’ve devoted most of my life to this brilliant club. I’m really excited now to have this opportunity to drive it forward and make sure we achieve our potential on and off the pitch.”

Sharks co-owner, Simon Orange, said: “I’ve known Paul for almost 30 years since he played loosehead prop for Sale pre the professional era. He is very considered and capable and 100 per cent trustworthy. He loves the club and we love him. He’s been with the club as long as anyone and we are confident he is the right man to lead the club for many years to come.”


Kevin Duffy

Audit, tax and consulting firm, RSM, has strengthened its workforce in the North West, taking on a record 129 new students in 2023, a 14% increase from its 2022 intake.

The new recruits will be spread across its Manchester, Liverpool, Preston, Chester, Stoke and Crewe offices. More than a third of the region’s trainees will be in audit (56), with others spread across the firm’s tax and consulting divisions.

Kevin Duffy, RSM UK’s regional managing partner for the North West, said: ‘It’s an exciting time to be joining RSM, as we are continuously investing in recruiting, developing and training our people to help shape our ambitious growth plans.

“This year marks our largest cohort of new trainees. Our focus in the North West remains on strengthening our presence in the region.”

Nationally, RSM has recruited a record high of 769 new students across the UK in 2023, surpassing its previous record intake in 2022 (723) by six per cent as the firm continues to invest in its long term growth plans.


Alison Hadden and Simon Leighton

Affordable homes provider, Auxesia Homes, made four new appointments to its board of directors.

Private equity-owned, Auxesia Homes provides affordable homes to public service workers across the North West and Yorkshire from its head office in Knutsford.

Alison Hadden, former chief executive at affordable homes provider, Paradigm, is an experienced chair and independent non-executive director (NED) in both not-for-profits and for-profit providers, including Peaks and Plains and Civitas Social Housing. Alison joins the Auxesia board as chair and NED.

Michael Orgill, former regional managing director of Keepmoat Homes (Yorkshire) joins the Auxesia board as an NED. Michael has 18 years’ experience working in housing development, with particular expertise in RP partnerships, delivering multi-tenure schemes.

Joanna Lee-Mills, property partner at national law firm Shakespeare Martineau and social housing specialist, also joins the Auxesia board as a NED.

The board is further enhanced by András Kárpáti, who joins as a NED. András is co-CEO at property development company Cordia UK. An accomplished property and finance professional, Andras has expertise in real estate investment and development management.

New chair, Alison Hadden, said: “These key board appointments, combined with its refreshed executive team, are key developments in further strengthening the company’s compliance and achieving our new strategic aims.”

The four new board directors join existing members, Paul Roberts, chair of the Regenda Group and board member at Rochdale Boroughwide Housing, and Nick Bull and Rob McHugh, directors from Auxesia’s investors, Matter Real Estate.

Interim CEO, Simon Leighton, said: “These appointments add significant expertise to the board and help toward enabling us to realise our five-year business plan to 2028, delivering more than two thousand new homes to our target customers of those who serve our country and communities.”