People: Zeal; DWF; MDF Recovery; Vernon; RPG accountants; Gateley

Lorna Hawtin

Brand activation agency Zeal has appointed Lorna Hawtin as its new Chief Strategy Officer.

She joins from TBWA/MCR where she was Disruption Director – heading up the strategy team and consulting on Disruption in both the UK and across the globe.  

In her time at TBWA, Lorna worked on marketing campaigns for brands including: Phillips PH Global, The Co-operative, McVitie’s and PZ Cussons as well as driving the industry’s effectiveness agenda through her high profile work with the IPA.

She also helped Legoland launch a new, highly effective global platform and was instrumental in the development of the Nemesis campaign for Alton Towers.

She will be develop Zeal’s strategic offering, driving new business and supporting client ambitions across key strategic accounts including Suntory, Carlsberg Marston’s Brewing Co., Arla and Nestle. She will head up a team of eight, with plans in place to recruit at all levels in both London and Manchester.

Lorna Hawtin said: “It didn’t take me long to see that Zeal’s trajectory and mine were closely aligned.

“The level of ambition across business, client and creative spheres was inspiring, and the opportunity to build a world-leading strategy team and flex my strategic muscles in a whole new way, was something I couldn’t turn down.’

Stewart Hilton, Zeal co-founder, said: “When we started our search for a new CSO, I asked Lorna for her advice on how to find someone equally as brilliant. As we chatted however it became clear that our mission was very much aligned with what Lorna is most passionate about.

“As soon as we realised that there might be a chance to tempt her away from TBWA, we immediately made her our one and only target. We are thrilled she has joined us.”

Founded in 2014 and with offices in London and Manchester, Zeal has more than 100 employees and has grown 40 per cent in the past year.

The business has ambitious plans to grow over the coming years. This will include expanding into content, partnerships and experiential as well as growing their European business, with a goal of becoming recognised as one of the world’s leading brand activation agencies.


Stuart Young

Law firm DWF has expanded its personal injury, fraud claims and regulatory offering with the addition of Stuart Young to its in-house Chambers.

He joins DWF from Park Square Barristers in Leeds, where he was instructed on behalf of several leading defendant insurers as panel Counsel and represented core participants at regulatory inquests.

DWF Chambers is an expert, quality, streamlined advocacy service, operating as an alternative to the external Bar and traditional chambers. With a dedicated clerking team, DWF’s in-house chambers reduces costs and makes communication easier for its clients.

It boasts 21 Advocates working across the four core practice areas of personal injury and fraud, commercial and dispute resolution, employment, and regulatory.

Dan Monaghan, Director of Clerking & Operations, said: “Stuart is a very highly regarded barrister and we are delighted he is joining DWF Chambers. He will significantly bolster our offering with his strong knowledge and expertise and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

Stuart added: “Following recent major insurance panel wins, DWF Chambers have ambitious recruitment plans and welcome applications from established Barristers and Solicitor Advocates.”


Steve Harvey

MDF Recovery, the Wythenshawe based recycler has recruited Steve Harvey as head of commercial. The technology development organisation is transitioning from an intense period of R&D into its commercial growth phase, and he is at the forefront of driving ambitious growth.

Steve will work closely with MDF Recovery Managing Director, Craig Bartlett having previously held the role of non-executive director.

As a commercial and corporate lawyer, Steve became managing partner of his own firm at just 36 years old. Over time, he built a portfolio of clients who he helped in all aspects of business which drove him to stop practicing law and focus his attention on adding value to clients’ organisations as a management consultant.

“I’m excited by this role particularly given the recent successes in achieving commercial relationships with PAL and W Howard,” explains Steve Harvey.

“I have always been attracted by the technology and its impact on the environment, and there are clear and obvious moves to ensure sustainability maintains and develops its momentum. MDF Recovery has a part to play in that agenda.”


Stephen Monaghan

Stockport mutual, Vernon Building Society, has appointed Stephen Monaghan to the newly created role of Head of Change Management to oversee transformational IT projects.

Stephen will take responsibility for overseeing the Vernon’s smooth transition to a new technology system that will enhance its banking ecosystem that connects it to Members, intermediaries and FinTechs.

The Vernon is a long time partner of Mutual Vision, a customer-owned technology provider based nearby in Wilmslow. Stephen will lead the Vernon’s IT Change team as Mutual Vision upgrade to its new cloud banking engine from Mambu. The new partnership between Mambu and Mutual Vision will bring a new level of choice and flexibility to Vernon Building Society’s banking staff.

Stephen joins from Housing Plus Group, a not-for-profit housing association, where he delivered large-scale organisational change projects. Steve brings with him a wealth of expertise across improving operational performance, efficiency, and customer satisfaction through the implementation of smart and intelligent processes and systems.

Stephen said of the move to the Vernon: “They have a really high performing IT team already and I’m confident we’re ready to handle some game-changing transformational projects that will really improve things for staff and ultimately Members.”

Steven Fletcher, CEO at Vernon Building Society says: “Our IT department has grown 200% over 5 years as we continue to keep ahead of the fast pace of technology and digital. Reliable and secure software is vital in the world of finance and Stephen is essential in our smooth adoption to some exciting upgrades that will ensure we can offer the best service to our Members over the next 100 years.”


Jonathan and Ben Brownson

RPG Chartered Accountants have promoted Ben Brownson to group board director.

Jonathan Brownson, RPG Group Manging Director said, “On behalf of the RPG Group Board, I am very pleased to announce that Ben Brownson has accepted our invitation to become a shareholder in the RPG Group and join the RPG Group Board.”

Ben will be alongside his father Jonathan Brownson as an RPG Group Board Director and will be the fifth generation of the Brownson family to be involved with RPG.

He joined RPG in Spring 2022, having trained and worked at Deloitte, will continue his dual role working on client matters as well as operations in his new capacity as Group Board Director and Head of Operations.

Over the past two years, Ben has continued to develop his skills in complex accounting and transactional matters whilst spearheading the firm’s technological transformation.

“Ben has had a significant impact on the firm’s future growth and development by taking control of our internal operations and in particular organising the re-building of our IT infrastructure. His promotion underlines our commitment to the growth and further development of the RPG Group,” explained Jonathan Brownson.

Ben said, “I am delighted and very grateful to have been given this opportunity. I am passionate about the technological transformation that the Group Board have entrusted me with and, working closely with our IT partners, I can see that the outcomes will be game changing for our people as well as our clients.

“Client work is still very important to me and nothing gives me more pleasure than a happy client, so this is the ideal position for me.”

The RPG Group comprises RPG Chartered Accountants, RPG Chartered Financial Planning, RPG Business Recovery and RPG Payroll Services. RPG’s team numbers are currently 95 at their offices in Manchester and St Asaph with more people planned to join the firm in the coming weeks. Ben’s promotion and the ongoing recruitment demonstrate the firm’s ambitions and commitment to growth.


Pictured: Paul Jefferson (front, right) with new promotees

Professional services group Gateley has announced 13 promotions in its Manchester office.

Aneesh Prasad (restructuring advisory) has been made partner.

He is joined by Karen Butler (real estate), Jessica Pigg (pensions) and Leanne Booth (private client) who have all been promoted to senior associate.

They are joined by Katriona Beverage and Michael Sheridan (construction), Alex Taylor (corporate), Leanne Grindrod (commercial) and Zara Larmour (commercial dispute resolution) who have been promoted to associate.

Property consultancy Gateley Hamer has promoted Rob Brown to technical director whilst Gateley Vinden, specialist consultancy to the built environment, has promoted Tim Aitchison to head of building consultancy, Garry Allen to head of project management and quantity surveying and Tom Bradley to senior surveyor.

Gateley has also announced that Gayle Taylor has been appointed as the new managing director of Gateley Vinden.

Manchester office head Paul Jefferson, said: “The contribution and commitment of all our newly appointed and promoted colleagues in Manchester this year has been exceptional.

“As an office, we are committed to nurturing and rewarding the very best lawyers and advisers.

“We look forward to supporting them as they play a vital role in driving Gateley forward whilst continuing to develop their professional careers with us.”

These promotions are part of 78 announced by Gateley across 15 of the Group’s UK offices this year with nine made up to partner.


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