People: Armstrong Watson; Harold Sharp; West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber; AECOM; JMW; Genr8 Developments

Lauren Graham

Armstrong Watson has made a key promotion in its senior management team in Cumbria as one of the firm’s former accounting trainees has risen through the ranks to the role of director.

Lauren Graham joined Armstrong Watson as a 24-year-old trainee in 2013 and has now been promoted to Audit and Assurance Director.

Initially joining the firm’s Hexham office, Lauren completed her AAT apprenticeship and went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant, gaining her ACA in 2018, before taking on managerial roles in 2020.

Lauren, who is now based at James Watson House in Carlisle, will take on a portfolio as a relationship director and will continue to be part of the leadership team in Cumbria, as well as enhancing the firm’s audit quality and reputation in the market, continuing to grow the audit business and market share.

She said: “I thoroughly enjoy working for Armstrong Watson and I am incredibly proud of our audit and assurance team and all that we achieve.”

Joanna Gray, Head of Audit and Assurance, said: “Recognising and nurturing the talent we currently have within the firm is integral to our growth, and Lauren has shown this in abundance. Her promotion is well deserved and reflects her hard work, dedication and professionalism.”


Amie Wilson

Sale-based accounting firm, Harold Sharp, part of the ETL Global network, has appointed Amie Wilson as an associate director and board member on her return to the firm, effective February 5.

Amie brings more than 25 years of experience in accountancy and a reputation for delivering on business strategy at board level. Her previous tenure at Harold Sharp, from 2014 to 2019, provides her with a solid understanding of the firm’s culture and client-focused approach.

Director, Andrew Copping, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Amie back to our team. Her exceptional expertise and familiarity with our culture make her an ideal leader to help steer our firm.”

Amie joins alongside three other strategic hires that span the breadth of the firm: Yunus Hamid (Audit Semi-Senior), Maruschka Mass (Accountant) and Samuel Flowers (Trainee Accountant).


Sarah Bailey

The West Cheshire & North Wales Chamber of Commerce has announced Sarah Bailey as its new Chief Executive.

Sarah joins the chamber after 17 years at NatWest where she has supported thousands of businesses through her roles, most recently as Director of Business Banking.

She said: “Having been an avid supporter of the chamber throughout my time as a member and board director, I am looking forward to getting started in this role, building on my existing relationships with members and engaging with key stakeholders across the region.”

Departing Chief Executive, Debbie Bryce, said: “Sarah’s past experience has shown that she is immensely passionate about making a difference to businesses across our region and I have no doubt that the chamber will go from strength to strength under her leadership.”


Stephen Kenny

AECOM, the infrastructure consultancy firm, has strengthened its Manchester team, appointing a senior specialist to lead its project management unit amid a growing pipeline of new work.

The business has named Stephen Kenny as project management director, working alongside director Matthew Gerken, having both joined from RPS. Stephen’s appointment bolsters AECOM’s presence in the city as it expands its pipeline of work across the North of England.

Stephen joins AECOM following more than four and a half years at RPS, where he served as associate director and most recently as director in its project management, cost and building consultancy unit. At AECOM, he will join fellow project management director, Neil Stubbs, leading a team of 30 people in Manchester and support the business’s growth ambitions in the region’s commercial and residential sectors.

He follows Matthew who was appointed by AECOM last summer. In his role as director, Matthew is responsible for shaping business development and recruitment, working closely with the firm’s head of project, programme and cost management (PPC) in the North, Jonathan Moore.

Mr Moore said: “Stephen and Matthew’s appointments are more than simply strengthening our team – they are a statement of intent. They’re both excellent operators and are well-recognised not just in the region, but within the built environment sector as a whole. Stephen brings a wealth of technical excellence and I know he will join Matt in hitting the ground running.”


From left: Beverley Jones, Pauline MacNamara, Ruth Kearns

Pauline McNamara has joined the Liverpool office of full service law firm JMW Solicitors.

Pauline comes from MSB Solicitors, a move which reunites her with partner and Head of Family Law, Liverpool, Beverley Jones. The pair worked together at Fletchers Solicitors almost 20 years ago and again later at DWF.

Manchester-based JMW caused something of a stir in the Liverpool legal sector in 2018 when it persuaded the entire DWF family law team, led by Beverley, to join its newly established base in the city. It proved to be an astute move, with year-on-year growth and the most recent annual revenues for the office £1.2m, up from £955,000 in the previous year.

Beverley said: “Pauline’s expertise and unrivalled reputation as a leading family lawyer will only add to our offering. I’ve known her a long time – she trained me at Fletchers, and we went on to work together at DWF.

“She’s a strong negotiator who is highly experienced in high net worth divorce settlements, including valuation of businesses and complex pension and tax issues. I am thrilled that things have now come full circle and we will be working together once again.”

Pauline said: “I’m very excited to be joining Beverley and the team at JMW. It’s great to have a new challenge, and to be working with an award-winning team.”


From left: Matt Brennan, Leonie Edwards, Alan Hall

Manchester-based regeneration specialist, Genr8 Developments, has promoted three staff in line with preparations for an ambitious year of growth in 2024.

Having played a pivotal role in the growth of the business in recent years, Alan Hall has been promoted to Director of Projects. Alan has led on the delivery of Genr8’s £200m Smithfield Stoke-on-Trent scheme. He also has responsibility for the £130m Huyton town centre regeneration project, secured through Genr8 Kajima Regeneration.

Leonie Edwards has been promoted to the position of Finance Director after three years with the business. In addition to facilitating Genr8’s corporate financial management, Leonie leads on investment appraisals across development projects, ensuring effective working capital management.

Matt Brennan has assumed the position of Senior Project Manager, having joined Genr8 in July 2019, in his first client-side role. With experience managing key stakeholders and changing delivery requirements, Matt successfully delivered Genr8’s £15m Smithfield MSCP, as well as working on the £65m BTR and Hilton hotel scheme at Rochdale Upperbanks from inception through to completion.

Richard Ingham, one of the founding partners of Genr8, said: “Alan, Leonie, and Matt have all played a huge role in the success of Genr8 in recent years and individually have grown in their respective roles since joining us.

“We have always believed that we can only deliver the truly transformational projects we are involved with if we have the right people within the business, and this is absolutely the case for this trio of passionate individuals.”