People: Harrison Drury; Panthera Biopartners; Ascend Properties; EY; Lunio; Excite OOH

Duncan Rawlinson and Lauren Sumner

North West law firm Harrison Drury has appointed experienced associate solicitor Lauren Sumner to join its residential property team.

Lauren graduated from the University of Central Lancashire with a first-class Undergraduate Master of Law Degree and joins after spending five years working at Complete Convey Property Lawyers. Before this, she spent four years at AMS Solicitors where she qualified as a solicitor in 2017.

Lauren will be based at the firm’s Preston office but will provide support to clients across the region.

Duncan Rawlinson, partner and head of home and family law at Harrison Drury, said: “Lauren’s experience in the residential property sector will be vital as we expand our team across the region. She understands that when buying or selling a property, our clients want to be kept informed of the progress and get things done as quickly and efficiently as possible, which is our ethos.”

Lauren said: “I was attracted to Harrison Drury as it’s a firm with a great reputation with an exceptional client base.”


Martyn Jellet

Preston-based independent clinical trial SMO (Site Management Organisation) Panthera Biopartners has appointed Martyn Jellet as Associate Director Business Development to support its expanding commercial team as the company continues to prosper and expand.

Martyn has more than 25 years’ experience in professional sales and business development and has extensive knowledge of the pharmaceutical and medical industry.

Chris Dodd, Panthera’s Chief Commercial Officer, said: “We are continuing to build a world class team and are really delighted that Martyn has chosen to join us.

“Martyn has a proven track record of exceeding sales targets and winning multimillion-pound contracts. His experience will be invaluable to us as we continue to grow and build on the expansion of the company.”


Maxwell Guthrie

Ascend Properties, one of the UK’s largest third-party operators of institutional build-to-rent homes, has appointed Maxwell Guthrie to the role of Head of Experience & Product.

His arrival follows the recent senior appointments of Paul Borrmann as Managing Director and Lee Hill as Commercial Director, and will further support the expansion of Ascend’s BTR operator capabilities in both single-family and multifamily assets.

Maxwell joins from Dandara Living, where he was Product & Experience Manager, leading the customer experience function across six multifamily communities housing more than 4,000 residents. He oversaw the national experience framework, engagement, events and communications – including the development of a bespoke app and CRM system.

Ascend holds mandates for more than 7,000 single-family BTR homes nationwide, around two thirds of the entire UK asset class, with its multifamily and buy-to-let portfolio instructions bringing its total units under management to in excess of 10,000.

Paul Borrmann, Managing Director of Ascend Properties, said: “Resident experience is a key pillar in driving the value of build-to-rent portfolios, and something that has long been a central part of Ascend’s approach. Maxwell’s expertise in this area will be hugely invaluable for both residents and landlords alike, and his arrival is part of our wider strategy, cementing our position as best-in-class managers of institutional build-to-rent.”

Maxwell will be based at the firm’s Manchester headquarters on Washway Road.


John Divers

EY has appointed John Divers, a Partner with more than 20 years of experience in the deals market, as the firm’s new Manchester-based Transaction Diligence Leader for the North of England.

John joined EY in 2019 as a Partner based in Edinburgh after spending 18 years working for Deloitte. He brings vast experience of supporting transactions across the mid-market, having spent much of his career working with private equity (PE) funds, corporates, and high growth businesses, on a range of transactions including buyouts, growth investments, corporate acquisitions, refinancings, corporate divestments and PE exits.

John also has significant experience of working with businesses in the Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT) and business services sectors – both of which have a buoyant presence in Manchester.

John said: “Taking on this leadership role at EY in Manchester is an exciting opportunity for me, and one I am very grateful for. Having spent two decades operating in the UK Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) market, I look forward to using my experience to grow the business and our talented team.”

Stephen Church, North Market Leader at EY, said: “With a wealth of experience and ambitions to drive further growth, I look forward to seeing what John and our wider diligence team can achieve along with our fantastic clients in the years to come.”


Nick Morley

Manchester-based MarTech scale-up, Lunio, has appointed Nick Morley as Chairperson.

Nick is a marketing technology veteran with more than two decades of experience working with public companies, as well as VC and PE backed scale-ups. The new appointment follows Lunio’s rapid growth in the past 12 months, having secured key new logos such as THG and TUI, among others.

Prior to joining Lunio, Morley served as EVP International at Alida.

With his experience, Morley is strategically positioned to advise Lunio’s CEO, Neil Andrew, and the wider company on strategic initiatives, M&A, market opportunities and key areas for growth, as well as raising awareness around the prevalence of ad fraud across performance marketing channels.

Nick said: “I’ve helped scale numerous world leading marketing technology companies. During that time, I’ve encountered first hand the enormous challenge that ad fraud presents to the marketing community. From the moment I met Neil, I was impressed by the innovative technology and passionate team that Lunio has built.”

Lunio founder and CEO, Neil Andrew, said: “Throughout 2023, Lunio took the steps required to establish itself as the go-to platform for stopping invalid traffic, and we couldn’t be more proud. Yet, this appointment further elevates Lunio and the work the company is doing in the ad fraud space by bringing an industry veteran with a huge network and vast amounts of experience. We can’t wait to see what this year has in store for the company.”


Scott Webster

Excite OOH, a Manchester-based challenger out-of-home (OOH) media agency, has appointed Scott Webster as its new Account Director.

With a rich background in the out-of-home industry, Scott brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to Excite OOH, having previously made significant contributions at Ocean Outdoor. His vast expertise in media planning, buying, and strategy, positions him perfectly to lead Excite OOH’s client strategies.

Elliot Ward, founder, said: “Scott’s appointment marks a significant milestone in our journey to redefine the landscape of outdoor ad agencies.

“His proven track record, innovative mindset, and passion for creativity align seamlessly with our mission to forge meaningful connections between brands and their audiences with out-of-home media.”

Scott said: “I am excited to join the talented team at Excite OOH and contribute to the agency’s vision of delivering exceptional out-of-home advertising experiences.

“The opportunity to work with ambitious global brands and leverage the latest technology to achieve impactful results is truly inspiring. I look forward to collaborating with our clients and partners to create innovative campaigns that resonate with audiences worldwide.”

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