People: Great Places Housing Group; RSM UK; Trowers & Hamlins; OBI; Roxtec; O’Connors; DWF; MHA; Civic Earth

Alison Dean

Northern-based housing association Great Places has appointed a new Chief Executive to replace Matt Harrison, who is standing down after more than 10 years in the job and in excess of 30 years with the organisation.

Alison Dean, currently Deputy Chief Executive, has accepted the position and will take over from Matt on July 1, 2024.

Alison joined Great Places as a graduate in 1997 working in customer involvement, moving into regeneration and several housing management roles. Since then, she has driven cultural change through continuous improvement of services and became Deputy Chief Executive in 2022.

Great Places Chair, Mervyn Jones, said: “This appointment signals the strength of our organisation and will continue to build on the success of our development programme as well as investing more than ever before into existing customers’ homes.

“I would like to thank Matt Harrison for everything he has done for our customers, colleagues and communities. I look forward to working closely with Alison as we open a new chapter and continue to move forward to help more people live in safe and secure homes.”

Alison said: “Our people and partners are passionate about delivering excellent services to our customers and we will remain committed to helping tackle the housing crisis and improving the communities we serve.”


Kate Aitchison

Audit, tax and consulting firm, RSM UK, has announced the promotion of private client tax specialist Kate Aitchison to partner.

Originally in RSM’s Leeds office, Kate’s promotion will see her strengthen the private client tax team in the North West. As part of her new role, Kate is now based in the firm’s Manchester office, while continuing to deliver for clients across Yorkshire and the North East.

Kate joined RSM in 2020 as private client tax director, having initially trained at one of the Big Four. She has more than 19 years of private client experience and specialises in personal tax issues including inheritance tax, capital gains tax planning, and succession planning.

As partner, Kate will continue to work alongside high net worth individuals, entrepreneurial clients, business owners, family-owned businesses and trustees. She will also support the ongoing development and growth of the private client team in the North West.

Kate said: “I am very proud to have been promoted to partner at RSM, and I look forward to continuing to work with our talented tax teams in the North to deliver for our clients. Whilst this is a massive personal achievement, I am grateful to all those who have supported me in my career so far. I am excited to start this next chapter at RSM and contribute to shaping the future of the firm.”

James Morris, RSM UK’s head of tax in the North, welcomed Kate, saying: “Since joining the firm, she has made a huge impact in our private client services in the North and her promotion to partner reflects her hard work, talent and expertise, and RSM’s commitment to investing in its people. Kate will play a key role in driving our local, regional and national growth plans to deliver a premium service to our tax clients, and I look forward to continuing to work together.”


Dan Banks

Trowers & Hamlins has welcomed a new Partner to its growing Property Litigation team.

Dan Banks, who was previously with Trowers from 2017 to 2019, re-joins the firm from Fieldfisher where he was a Legal Director. He is based in Trowers’ Manchester office.

Dan has 14 years’ experience in advising on disputes in relation to the acquisition, disposal, development and management of real estate. His national practice focuses, in particular, on landlord and tenant matters, and acting on complex ‘ad-hoc’ disputes for developers, investors and occupiers.

Previously based in London, in early 2020 he relocated to Manchester to set-up Fieldfisher’s Manchester Property Litigation team where he was the lead property litigator in Manchester.

Manchester Head of Office and Head of Real Estate Sector, Suzanne Benson, welcomed Dan, saying: “The breadth of his experience in property litigation issues is a real asset to the firm and he really compliments our wider Real Estate team both in Manchester and nationally. We are looking to forward to working with him again and having him as part of our growing Manchester based team.”

Dan Banks said: “It’s great to be back at Trowers, and particularly in the property team at the Manchester office. The office’s renown has grown massively in my time away and I am excited to be coming back and do my part to help with its growth, that of the property sector and the broader firm overall.”


Jacob Jolly

Multi-disciplinary property firm, OBI, has announced a new recruit in the Transactions and Asset Management team as the firm grows to 40 people.

Jacob Jolly, who completed a work experience placement with the firm in 2018, has returned for a full time position to strengthen the business’s transactions objectives in 2024.

Qualifying on the graduate scheme at Savills, Jacob has provided agency services and strategic advice to a range of landlords and occupiers across the Yorkshire region.

Now operating on new regional soil, Jacob hopes to use his office and industrial experience to expand his network in the property industry and utilise his refined skillset for the range of clients that OBI works with.

Notable schemes that Jacob has worked on include Wellington Place with MEPC, Boultbee Brooks’ Tailors Corner, and Patrizia’s Thorp Arch Estate.

Jacob said: “I’m pleased to be returning to OBI for a full time position since getting a taste for the firm back in 2018. Since then, I’ve completed my RICS APC qualifications on the brilliant Savills graduate scheme, gained an incredible amount of valuable experience, and feel prepared to hit the ground running with the team here.

“OBI was an obvious choice for me given its strategic growth plans, involvement in some of the city’s most prominent deals, and status as a leading property firm in Manchester.”

Scott Gemmell, part of the Transactions and Asset Management team at OBI, said: “Jacob’s appointment comes very welcomed to the Transactions team.

“We’re always on the lookout for new talent that can compliment the existing team so with his experience across both the office and industrial sectors and strategic consultancy, Jacob will be a valuable addition to the team as we continue on this period of growth.”


Ian Gunn

Cable and pipe seal manufacturer, Roxtec UK and Ireland, is strengthening its presence in the Republic of Ireland with the appointment of Ian Gunn as Technical Sales Manager, Energy and Industry.

In this new role he will spearhead the Bury company’s ambitious growth strategy in the country, which is seeing it make major inroads in key sectors ranging from renewable energy to pharma. The business is also working on the development of a number of large scale data centres created in Ireland.

Meath-based Ian Gunn has a background in mechanical engineering and a wealth of experience gained by working in a wide range of industries, including running his own consultancy business.

Roxtec UK Managing Director, Clive Sharp, said: “We see major scope for growth in Ireland across a range of energy and industry sectors and Ian, with his wide experience and impressive list of contacts, will play a big role in that journey. We look forward to seeing his growing contribution to our business development in Ireland.”

Ian said: “I was attracted to the position by Roxtec’s ambition, the enormous opportunities that exist for the business in Ireland and the scope it has to grow its presence here.”

The company, headquartered in Bury, is active in wind, solar and nuclear power and is working with several leading technology providers in the green hydrogen sector, providing its unique solutions for cable and pipe sealing.


Sally Lazar

Liverpool and London-based business lawyers and advisers, O’Connors, has appointed insurance and commercial specialist, Sally Lazar, as a solicitor as it accelerates the national roll-out of its sector support for financial services and legal services businesses.

Sally has 10 years’ experience as an insurance and commercial lawyer, working with major international and regional law firms in London and Liverpool, and as head of legal and business affairs at an award-winning UK animation studio.

She joins O’Connors after a sustained period of investment by the firm in its corporate, commercial, insurance and regulatory teams and as it broadens its offering to financial services, legal services, and sports sector clients.

Sally said: “I’ve had such a great welcome at O’Connors and experienced its special team culture. I am really looking forward to sharing my know how and experience with the O’Connors team and with the firm’s clients.”

CEO, David Malone, said: “Sally is another major appointment for us as we develop our team and our client offering. She will be part of our insurance and regulatory team, headed by Josh Bates, and assisted by our legal and support colleagues. I am looking forward to introducing her to our many clients and business friends.”


Jim Bryant

DWF, the Manchester-based global provider of integrated legal and business services, has welcomed Jim Bryant as a new partner in its Insurance Services division

Jim joins after 10 years at Weightmans where he worked as legacy sector lead. He has more than 20 years of expertise in delivering legal and commercial solutions to the insurance industry and UK and global corporates.

With a particular interest and expertise in discontinued insurance business, Jim has advised run-off managers and acquirers of run-off books of business on all claims-related matters, both pre- and post-portfolio acquisition. As an integral part of Jim’s day-to-day practice, he has also been instructed by the insurance market on a number of successful group actions.

Based out of DWF’s Liverpool office, Jim will be working with the business’ London Markets team and global locations.

Jim said: “While I’ll continue to work closely with clients headquartered in the London legacy market, I’m also looking forward to supporting those clients from the global platform that DWF provides.

“As part of my commitment to ESG with DWF, I will also be given the opportunity to continue to mentor the younger generations and future leaders, both within the firm as well as the wider insurance and financial services markets.”

Julie Simms, Partner and Office Managing Partner of DWF’s Liverpool office, said: “Jim is an excellent addition to our team here in Liverpool, and brings with him an outstanding track record in the legacy insurance market. His expertise will be a tremendous asset not only to our clients, but to our colleagues both in the UK and around the globe.”


Nicola Mason, Graham Gordon, Elizabeth Hall

Accountancy and advisory firm, MHA, has made two partner promotions in the North West.

Nicola Mason, a specialist in audit and financial reporting, has been promoted from the role of director to partner.

Nicola, who has been with the firm for more than 18 years, specialises in advising charities, not-for-profit organisations, and academy trusts, and will help to develop the firm’s expertise in this sector further as part of her new role.

Meanwhile, Liz Hall has been promoted to the role of partner in the firm’s wealth management division having previously been director of financial planning.

She has been with the firm for 27 years advising a wide range of clients on financial planning and wealth matters, with a particular specialism in advising NHS consultants and GPs.

In her new role, Liz will help oversee the operational direction and management of the wealth management consultancy team.

Graham Gordon, regional chair and partner for MHA, said: “Nicola and Liz have made a huge contribution to the firm over many years, helping our clients to flourish and grow.

“Our financial planning and wealth management service would not be what it is today without Liz, who has provided outstanding client service over almost three decades.

“Nicola has been instrumental to the development and growth of our audit work with the charities and not for profit sector. It’s a privilege to be able to promote both of them to partner.”


From left: Kiera I’Anson, Alex Petts and Dan Matthews

Ground engineering consultancy, Civic Earth, has expanded its team with the appointment of Alex Petts as senior geotechnical engineer, and Kiera I’Anson as graduate geotechnical engineer.

Alex joins from Fairhurst, where he led multiple projects including site investigations, data analysis and risk assessments, as well as the delivery of Access for All schemes for Northern Trains, Network Rail and the Department for Transport. He previously worked at Lithos Consulting, where he supported environmental monitoring and geotechnical appraisals for residential and commercial development schemes.

Kiera also joins from Fairhurst, where she worked on a broad range of geotechnical projects, supporting the delivery of ground investigations, slope stability analysis and geo-environmental reports to support projects across the infrastructure, transport and energy sectors.

In their new roles, Alex and Kiera will help to grow Civic Earth’s presence, broaden its services and expand its portfolio of projects across the North, including working closely with its sister company Civic Engineers’ studios in Leeds and Manchester.

The appointments follow a period of strong growth at Civic Earth. Recent projects include delivering site investigation for Oldham Council’s Civic Centre, the first step in the plans to transform the town centre; providing geo-environmental engineering consultancy services for the transformational £65m Blackpool Multiversity, a state-of-the art higher education campus; and the Mayfield development in Manchester, the home of the city’s first new park in 100 years.

Dan Matthews, director at Civic Earth, said: “Alex and Kiera are hugely talented and collaborative, and it’s great to have them on board as we grow our presence.”

Click here to sign up to receive our new South West business news...