People: Fletchers Solicitors; GM Business Growth Hub; Harley Haddow; Sambro International; Opus; Stephensons; Ardent

Nadia Kerr

Fletchers Solicitors has appointed Nadia Kerr as partner to lead its dedicated cycling team including its Cycle SOS brand, which Fletchers acquired in 2022.

An avid cyclist herself, with more than 30 years’ legal experience representing cyclists and other vulnerable road users, Kerr joins Manchester-based Fletchers from JMW Solicitors where she headed up the cycling claims team, following previous roles as a Partner at Pannone and in the senior management team at Minister Law.

Kerr is also a Trustee and Director for the national cycling charity, Cycling UK, for which Fletchers’ is a legal partner.

She said: “The safety of cyclists on UK roads is still of utmost concern and I’m committed to advocating for safer cycling for vulnerable road users, as well as being dedicated to delivering access to justice for my clients.”

She is set to join Fletchers’ growing two-wheel team, under the direction of Victoria Marsden, Director of Personal Injury.

Marsden said: “Nadia has an outstanding client-centred ethos and is truly tireless in her pursuit of justice, and long-term change. She is sure to make a meaningful impact to the lives of her clients, and the broader cycling community at Fletchers.”


Nick Richardson, CEO, The Insights People

Nick Richardson

A tech entrepreneur has been appointed by the Greater Manchester Business Growth Hub to provide insights and expertise to firms across the region as part of the Innovation Navigator programme.

Nick Richardson, who set up the market intelligence company The Insights Family in 2016 and helped steer its turnover to more than £4m, is to be its official ambassador and mentor.

He will work across Greater Manchester and its local authorities to help accelerate the commercialisation and growth of businesses.

Nick said: “GM Business Growth Hub has been a huge part of The Insights Family’s journey almost from day one. Without their support, guidance, counsel and introductions, there is no way we would have achieved what we have.

“So, when I was approached about getting involved as an ambassador and mentor for this fantastic innovation programme, I didn’t have to think twice.”

The Innovation Navigator programme is focused on turbocharging business innovation projects from delivery to market, promptly, without complication and at no cost to the business. The initiative, which is set to run until March 2025, will see businesses in the area receive specialist advice aimed at bringing new ideas to the market. In addition, businesses will gain greater knowledge and the programme will equip them with the skills for future growth.

Yvonne Grady, Head of Innovation at GM Business Growth Hub, said: “Nick is going to be a huge asset to the Growth Hub’s Innovation Navigator programme. He has experience and insights businesses across the region will benefit from.”


Duaa Raja

Harley Haddow has met growing demand across the UK with the addition of four new members of staff in Manchester, and promotions across its UK base.

The multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy’s North West office has added four new engineering experts to the team to further bolster growth in the region. They include Carlos Law, Mechanical Engineer, Travis Ting, Electrical Engineer, Duaa Raja, Mechanical Engineer and Luke Ridsale, Electrical Engineer.

They will work alongside North West director, Ian Chalk, and Shweta Salvankar, Senior Building Performance and Sustainability engineer. In addition to the new hires, the consultancy has marked the achievements of staff, with 17 promotions across their other offices in London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Fort William, seven at director level.

Ian Chalk welcomed the new Manchester team members, saying: “All coming from a diverse background and a variety of expertise, we can’t wait to see them flourish in their new roles and to continue to put our North West office on the map. It’s fantastic to see how far we’ve come since we first opened our office in Manchester in 2022, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of the journey.”

Guy Willis-Robb, Director at Harley Haddow, said: “It’s a great feeling to be expanding our workforce across our UK offices and recognising the fantastic work of our team. We are excited to welcome Carlos, Travis, Duaa and Luke to Harley Haddow and look forward to seeing the value of expertise they can bring to the consultancy.”


Chris Hylton

Sambro International has further strengthened its senior leadership team with the appointment of new Chief Financial Officer, Chris Hylton.

With more than 20 years of experience in finance, primarily in commercial finance and financial leadership roles, Chris will now head up the Bury-based global toy firm’s UK-based financial operations. He will work closely with CEO Paul Blackaby and senior leadership teams to support the firm’s strategic commercial growth strategies.

Joining from retail leader, N Brown Group, Chris brings a wealth of experience in maintaining strong cash margins and working capital management, alongside a proven record in supporting robust financial operations and performance.

He said: “Sambro is a fantastic toy company and it’s great to be part of a team which not only has a drive towards commercial goals, but also an abundance of fun, creativity and ambition. It’s the people-led approach to business that is a big draw for me and there is enormous opportunity in the business to drive value for our people, customers and shareholders.”

CEO, Paul Blackaby, said: “Chris’s appointment is very important for us and helps us bolster the experience and expertise of our senior leadership team as we look to deliver on our strategic objectives and growth plans over the next few years.”


Amanda Hamlin

Opus has expanded its Preston office with the addition of  Amanda Hamlin who joins the team as Manager.

She is an experienced insolvency professional who started her career more than 20 years ago at the Official Receiver’s office in Manchester before moving into private practice in Bolton.

After completing her CPI qualification in 2007, Amanda has continued to develop her corporate insolvency experience, working with businesses of all sizes. Amanda joins Opus Preston’s Partner, Ian McCulloch, and the existing team to expand their business advisory support throughout the North West.

Ian said: “Amanda’s wealth of experience is a real asset to our team. I look forward to working with Amanda in the North West to assist businesses and stakeholders during these turbulent economic times.”

The expansion of the Opus Preston office closely follows the opening of a new Manchester office, which joins the existing Opus Liverpool in the North West.


Judith Thomas-Whittingham and Neil Ireland-Davies

Wigan-based national law firm, Stephensons, has appointed two new equity partners, effective immediately.

Judith Thomas-Whittingham and Neil Ireland-Davies will join their fellow equity share members in helping to shape the direction of the law firm, which has offices in Wigan, Manchester, St Helens, Warrington, Bolton and London.

Judith Thomas-Whittingham joined Stephensons more than 25 years ago and was appointed as a partner in 2009 and head of clinical negligence in 2012. In 2023, she was appointed as a director of Stephensons Trust Corporation, and acts as a professional deputy on behalf of vulnerable clients.

Neil Ireland Davies has worked at Stephensons for more than 22 years. He started as a law costs draftsperson in the costings team and was then promoted to department manager in 2006. Neil was made a partner in 2013. In 2021 he was authorised by the SRA to be Money Laundering Reporting Officer and then in 2022 was also authorised to be Money Laundering Compliance Officer.

Managing partner, Sean Joyce, said: “I am so pleased to welcome Judith and Neil to the equity partnership. For the best part of a quarter of a century, both Judith and Neil have made a substantial contribution in making Stephensons the firm it is today. I am certain that will continue with their promotion to equity partners and I look forward to working closely with them both as the firm continues to grow and thrive.”


Bethan Bloor, Sean McDonnell, Becky Scott

The Warrington office of a national surveying, stakeholder communications and consents management practice has promoted three members of the team.

Ardent, which also has offices in Birmingham, Glasgow, London, Leeds and Dublin, has promoted 17 members of the team across the board as it reaches 170 staff – up around 40% on the same time last year.

The company has promoted Becky Scott to People Advisor from HR Assistant, while Bethan Bloor and Sean McDonnell both move up to Senior Land Referencer.

Ardent’s Warrington office, which is situated in The Brew House, is now home to 39 members of the company’s overall team.

CEO, Richard Caten, said: “We are ahead of our growth targets that we set out last year, and that is down to the fantastic work of the whole Ardent team, so we are delighted to be able to announce our latest round of promotions. We are really proud of everyone at Ardent and wish all our newly promoted people lots of success in their new roles.”

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