People: Grant Thornton; Moneysupermarket; Forbes Solicitors; Kinaxia Logistics; Urban Splash; Montane Finance

Keely Woodley

Grant Thornton UK has made a record investment in its Corporate Finance team, with 10 partner promotions across M&A and Transaction Advisory Service (TAS).

Half the new partners are based in the UK regions with key appointments in Cambridge, Cardiff, Leeds and Manchester. Matt Bryden-Smith is the new partner in Manchester.

The firm, which in 2023 advised on 216 deals with a total value of more than £8.1bn, also promoted five Assistant Directors to Director, including Humza Khan in Manchester.

A further 43 promotions have been made across the M&A and TAS teams as the firm continues to invest in its people and grow market share.

Keely Woodley, new Head of Deals and Business Consulting at Grant Thornton, said: “The UK mid-market, the bedrock of our business, is a dynamic and diverse landscape, alive with enterprise and endeavour.

“These 10 partner promotions are a vote of confidence in the UK mid-market and statement of our commitment both to our people and to the regions, where we have strong local teams with outstanding market knowledge.”


Jonathan Bewes Group has appointed Jonathan Bewes as an Independent Non-Executive Director and Chair Designate of the board of directors, with effect from July 1, 2024.

Subject to regulatory approval, Jonathan will be appointed as a member of the Audit, Remuneration, Nomination and Risk & Sustainability Committees of the board with effect from the same date, and it is anticipated that Jonathan will assume the chair on January 1, 2025, following a period of handover with the incumbent chair, Robin Freestone.

Jonathan brings a wealth of experience in the banking and finance sector, having acted as adviser to the boards of many companies and held prominent leadership positions in various organisations, most recently at Standard Chartered Bank. An experienced Non-Executive Director, Jonathan is also Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at Next, Chair of the Audit & Risk Committee at Sage Group and Chair of the Audit and Risk Committee at the Court of the Bank of England.

Peter Duffy, CEO of Moneysupermarket Group, based in Ewloe, near Chester, said: “Jonathan is a respected leader in the banking and finance sector. His extensive experience and strategic acumen will be invaluable as we continue to drive growth and enhance shareholder value.”

Jonathan said: “I am honoured to be appointed as Chair of Moneysupermarket Group and look forward to working closely with the board and management team to build on the company’s success by continuing to deliver on its important purpose of helping households save money, and to drive sustainable growth for the benefit of all stakeholders.”

Jonathan will succeed Robin Freestone, who has served the company with distinction since August 2015 and as chair since May 2019. The board extends its sincere gratitude to Robin for his dedicated service and valuable contributions during his tenure.


Jonathan Clay

Insurance litigation specialist, Jonathan Clay, has joined full service law firm Forbes Solicitors as part of its ambitions to further grow its private and public sector insurance work.

A well-regarded lawyer who has ranked in the renowned Legal 500 Hall of Fame, Jonathan will draw on more than 40 years’ legal experience to support Forbes’ Insurance Team in the newly created role of Business Development Consultant.

Led out of Forbes’ Manchester office, the Insurance Team works closely with local authorities across the North of England, and nationally, as well as major insurers and businesses throughout the retail, manufacturing, construction, and care sectors.

Jonathan will utilise his career experience and insight to help Forbes continue its growth in these key areas. Previously, Jonathan has held strategic business roles and led relationships with specialist and general insurers across multiple lines of business. He has advised on a broad range of claims against insurance clients and supported them with risk management advice.

Chris Booth, a Partner and Head of Insurance at Forbes Solicitors, said: “We’ve had the privilege of knowing Jonathan for a number of years and have long admired his achievements. He has a wealth of knowledge and deep insight of the most pressing risks facing organisations and insurers. This fits perfectly with our insurance team’s extensive range of specialisms and their ambitions to successfully expand our provision of services and quality legal advice.

“The newly created role of Business Development Consultant is intended to create more opportunities for our insurance team to work in close collaboration with clients to mitigate risks and potential liabilities. Jonathan is the ideal person for helping create these opportunities.”

Jonathan Clay, said: “I’ve always been impressed by the long standing client relationships that Forbes builds. These span decades and are testament to the delivery of trusted and authentic advice by united teams and leadership. The chance to be part of this was too good an opportunity to turn down and I’m looking forward to supporting the insurance team’s continued success, which is well rooted in exceptional service levels and client satisfaction.”


Mark Tabor, left, and Simon Nelson

Kinaxia Logistics has strengthened its senior team as part of a management restructure which will see it focus on further developing its customer proposition, driving operational efficiencies and unlocking the potential within the business.

Simon Nelson has been appointed to the new position of chief operating officer and Mark Tabor has joined Kinaxia as commercial director.

Chief executive, Michael Conroy, said the duo have vast experience at board level and possess great commercial acumen. He said the appointments form part of Kinaxia’s strategy to work more closely with its customers and deliver high quality services which are more tailored to their needs.

Simon joined Kinaxia and became managing director of its contract distribution operations after the company acquired Nelson Distribution from KNP Logistics Group last September.

Michael said: “The new position of COO has been created to ensure our services more closely match our customers’ requirements. This will enable us to get closer to them, better understand their needs and deliver a service which reflects this. In addition, Simon will also drive efficiency across the business using technology-enabled solutions that will boost productivity while further enhancing sustainability, allowing us to generate additional value for our customers.

“Mark will play a major role as we continue to align our commercial proposition to best serve the needs of our customers with the agility to flex to quickly meet the demands of a changing marketplace. His appointment further reinforces our strategy to be completely aligned with our customers.”

Kinaxia, which has its headquarters in Macclesfield, employs more than 1,700 staff nationwide with a fleet of 800 vehicles transporting goods for the retail, leisure, food and drink and manufacturing sectors.


From left: Julian Curnuck, Suzy Jones, Sarah Battye, Kim Essop, Ben Thatcher, Guy Ackernley

Manchester-based regeneration company, Urban Splash, has formed a new executive board, with six colleagues appointed to take forward projects that will create 4,500 new homes and 500,000 sq ft of commercial space over the next five years.

The executive board will oversee all aspects of financial performance, strategic business planning, governance and decision-making across Urban Splash, helping the company as it progresses new neighbourhoods in Windermere, Milton Keynes, Swansea, Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester and growing its commercial portfolio of offices, retail and leisure space.

It is led by Julian Curnuck who took on the role of CEO at Urban Splash last year following almost two decades at the Manchester-based business as CFO.

Julian is joined by company secretary Kim Essop and director of finance, Sarah Battye, both seasoned Urban Splash colleagues each with more than 15 years of dedicated service to the business.

Managing director – development and residential, Guy Ackernley, and finance director – development, Ben Thatcher, bring their wealth of experience to the board alongside director of the future, Suzy Jones. Suzy is the most recent addition to the Urban Splash team, a former director at the Royal Institute for British Architects, she joined Urban Splash in 2023 to bring greater foresight and innovation to drive the purpose-led ambition of the business and develop the strategic framework necessary to support it.

CEO, Julian Curnuck, welcomed the appointments, saying: “Their ambition, talent, and inspiration make them invaluable colleagues to work alongside, and I look forward to collaborating as we grow our business.”

In 2023, Urban Splash marked its 30th year in business. Julian added: “The challenges and opportunities of the next 30 years will be very different. What people want and need from their homes, neighbourhoods and places of work and leisure, are already very different and will continue to change in line with our evolving climate and society. Our Executive Board members have the relevant skills, knowledge and experience to help Urban Splash respond to and thrive in this landscape of change – continuing as we always have to use great design to leave this place not less but greater, better and more beautiful than it was left to us.”

The board will continue to work alongside co-founders Tom Bloxham and Jonathan Falkingham, as well as shareholders Simon Gawthorpe and Nathan Cornish.


Scott Murcott, left, and Adam Lee

Independent boutique finance broker, Montane Finance, has launched a specialist insurance division aimed at supporting the healthcare and hospitality sectors. To head up this new division the firm has announced the appointment of Adam Lee.

Montane Insurance Services is based in offices in Winsford, Cheshire, and will provide insurance solutions to clients predominantly across the North West and Midlands, as well as nationally. The firm has also acquired a sector-related insurance book which means the business is fully operational from day one and can service clients’ insurance requirements.

A senior insurance professional with 20 years of experience, Adam Lee’s career has seen him work across different sectors, with a focus in the commercial, healthcare and hospitality industries. He joins Montane Insurance Services from Gen2.

Scott Murcott, Managing Director at Montane Finance, said: “The launch of an insurance division specialising in healthcare and hospitality is a planned and logical step for the Montane Group as we continue to grow the business. We’re responding to increased demand from our clients to deliver a proactive and full service offering to their funding and insurance needs.

“We’re thrilled to welcome a skilled insurance professional like Adam to the team. I am looking forward to growing the business further and welcoming more new members to the team in the future.”

Adam Lee said: “We are excited about the opportunities this new division represents for our clients and feel ideally positioned to capitalise on new business opportunities. The creation of our dedicated insurance division aligns directly with the Montane Group and reflects our commitment to becoming the insurer of choice for the healthcare and hospitality sectors.”

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