People: DSW; SAS Daniels; CBRE; Pick Everard; Napthens; AECOM; Hill Dickinson

Shrutisha Morris - DSW Deputy CEO

DSW Capital plc – the company behind the Dow Schofield Watts ‘challenger’ professional services brand – has recruited Shrutisha Morris (‘Shru’) as Deputy CEO.

Shru joins from Pick Everard, a national multi-disciplinary consultancy working within the property, infrastructure and construction industry, where she was CFO and responsible for working with stakeholders across the group to drive change, business performance, and financial governance, and will start at DSW on 1 August 2024.

Previously she spent seven years at the law firm Napthens, joining as Finance Director in 2014 before being appointed CEO in 2017. A qualified accountant, she spent eight years at Bowmans and Baker Tilly (now part of RSM) at the start of her career.

In her new role she will help to spearhead the continued growth of DSW, which operates a licensing model enabling professional services teams to run their own business under the Dow Schofield Watts brand. DSW aims to scale its business by attracting entrepreneurial professionals and “Break Outs” – existing teams in larger firms – in particular those offering high margin, complementary, niche service lines with a strong synergistic fit with the existing DSW Network. Shru will be based at DSW’s headquarters in Daresbury.

James Dow, Chief Executive Officer, said Shru was a highly experienced finance and business leader, with considerable experience in M&A.

“Shru is highly experienced in professional services, specifically law, which is an area of strategic interest to DSW. Alongside her proven finance and management expertise, Shru has a passion for recruitment and a track record of helping people develop their careers. She understands the importance of empowering people to take charge of their own destiny, which lies at the heart of our culture.

“I would like to welcome Shru to DSW Capital. I am very much looking forward to working with her, as we continue to build and expand the DSW Network. I am confident that she will play a vital role in the growth, leadership, and future development of the Group.”

Shru Morris added: “Dow Schofield Watts is a brand I have known and admired throughout my career in professional services. As a challenger brand, it offers a genuine alternative to the big firms by giving talented professionals the chance to take control of their own destiny. Given the changes within the sector, DSW is uniquely positioned for growth. I look forward to acting as brand ambassador, helping to attract the right talent and working with the team to take the business on the next phase of its journey.”


Justine Clowes

SAS Daniels, the North West-based law firm, has consolidated its management structure with a duo of significant changes to the leadership team.

Justine Clowes – partner, business owner and joint head of the Macclesfield office – takes on the position of compliance partner and COLP (compliance officer for legal practice), transitioning from her former role as head of private client.

As the firm’s current anti-money laundering officer, Justine has been heavily involved in compliance across SAS Daniels’ four offices and now in her extended capacity will be responsible for overseeing and ensuring compliance with all regulatory and legal obligations. Justine remains a practising solicitor, specialising in legal services that benefit older and more vulnerable people.

Helen Kelly

Significantly, partner and joint head of the Stockport office, Helen Kelly, who joined the business as a trainee solicitor in 2003, has been appointed as the new head of private client. In her expanded role, Helen will manage a specialist team of industry professionals providing legal services in the areas of wills, trusts, elderly, care and mental capacity and estate administration.

Jeremy Orrell, chief executive, head of the corporate team and the firm’s COFA (compliance officer for finance and administration) said: “I offer my congratulations on behalf of the firm to Helen for becoming private client team leader, and thank Justine for her leadership of that team for many years and for now taking on the important role of compliance partner.

“Compliance has become increasingly onerous, important and time-consuming reflecting the increasing regulatory requirements, and with Helen working closely with Justine on team management for some time, I am confident this restructure will be a seamless transition and ensure the smooth operation of the business.”

SAS Daniels has offices in Stockport, Chester, Macclesfield and Congleton, servicing both businesses and individuals throughout the local area and nationwide.


John Ogden

Global real estate advisor, CBRE, has announced strategic changes to its Northern leadership team.

John Ogden is now responsible for all UK Regional Markets, while Joe Rigby has been promoted to Managing Director (MD) of the North, overseeing CBRE’s Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds offices.

Based in Manchester, Ogden will continue to have an active role in overseeing the Northern region but will also take on greater responsibility across CBRE’s wider regional UK business, with overall responsibility for Scotland, the North, and the Midlands & South, and all the sectors and service lines in these locations.

Rigby, who joined CBRE in 2014, has held several leadership roles within the company including Head of Occupiers Services for the North in 2019, before a promotion to Head of Office Agency for the North in 2022.

Joe Rigby

Rigby will now transition to Managing Director of the North, supporting Ogden, while remaining laser-focused on client solutions in the region. The news follows Colin Thomasson’s recent appointment as Head of UK Investment Properties.

John Ogden said: “Joe is regarded as a market leader by clients, as well as the wider industry across the North, so he is well placed to step up and drive the growth of our Northern business going forward.

“Simultaneously, it’s more important than ever that we are delivering a cohesive and integrated offering to our clients, across all our service lines and sectors. I look forward to continuing to work with Joe, as well as with all the teams across CBRE’s wider regional business, to deliver best-in-class, holistic solutions for our clients.”


Rob Dawes

Strengthening its offering in the North of England and Wales, independent multi-disciplinary consultancy, Pick Everard, has appointed a new director of project management.

Rob Dawes brings almost 25 years of experience in the construction sector to the role, with a background in property, real estate and healthcare, including six years planning and delivering capital investment strategies within the NHS.

In his new role, Rob will lead the team from the firm’s Manchester and Leeds offices, focused on delivering and managing successful development projects for existing clients while nurturing new opportunities and relationships across the region.

His appointment to the firm, which employs more than 700 people nationally across its 15 UK offices, signifies its continued commitment to developing its project management division and further driving its strong presence in the North of England and Wales.

Rob said: “Both Manchester and Leeds have enjoyed substantial economic growth over the past decade, spurred by investment and development opportunity across commercial, residential and educational sectors to name but a few.

“My appointment is an opportunity for Pick Everard to further cement its place at the forefront of this pipeline, accelerate our strong offering in Wales and continue to be a valuable asset to our clients and the wider built environment.”

Jon Parry, operations director at Pick Everard, said: “Rob brings a wealth of project management experience to the role, making him an excellent addition to the team. As a business, we hold a strong track record successfully delivering public and private sector schemes, and Rob’s background in strategic planning and policy aligns perfectly with our values. Joining us at an exciting period of growth, Rob will add significant weight across our range of projects and services, as well as the communities we serve.”


Catherine Wong

North West law firm Napthens has boosted its executive leadership group by appointing Catherine Wong as marketing and business development director.

With more than 20 years of experience in business-to-business marketing working for major brands, including RSA, Bupa, and law firm Hill Dickinson, Catherine joins the firm as it plans for growth.

Experian Market IQ recently ranked Napthens as the number one mergers and acquisitions legal adviser in the North West, and the firm is looking to build on its recent successes of its rural, licensing and HR and employment services while growing the practice across its six-office network.

Jamie Allison, partner and head of real estate at Napthens, said: “Catherine joins us at a pivotal point in the firm’s history as we embark on launching several new services and enhancing our presence in key locations across the North West.

“The firm continues to make strides across key areas and our focus remains on growth combined with continuing our excellent service to clients. Catherine’s skills and expertise will ensure she’s a great asset to the executive team. An excellent strategician, she will ensure the firm is seen as one of the leading legal brands in the region and further afield.”

Catherine said: “Napthens has an excellent reputation, and it was an opportunity not to be missed, considering the plans that are in place to build a firm for the future. The future is bright for the firm, its clients and colleagues, and I’m looking forward to playing my part in supporting the plans.”


Richard Fraser

AECOM, the infrastructure consultancy firm, has appointed an education specialist to its Manchester team, to support government investment in further education and skills as demand grows.

The business has named Richard Fraser as director of its education sector team in the North of England, with a focus on further and higher education. He will also have a role within AECOM’s broader education team, which supports clients including UCL, University of Cambridge and University of Glasow and is led by Steven Jenkins, Head of Education for UK and Europe.

Richard joins AECOM from his own consultancy practice, Pearson Fraser, which he co-founded in 2004 to provide specialist consultancy services, property strategies and funding application support to the further education sector, working with clients such as Blackburn College, the Nelson and Colne College Group and University of Gloucestershire.

At AECOM, he will work alongside project management director Neil Stubbs, and report into the firm’s head of project, programme and cost management (PPC) in the North, Jonathan Moore.

He brings with him leading knowledge in the further education marketplace, including the current skills shortage in technical and engineering disciplines and capacity challenges faced by the UK. At AECOM, Richard will work with the team to respond to needs to boost capacity and upskill in key areas.

Richard is the latest senior hire since the launch of AECOM’s new Manchester office at 100 Embankment by Greater Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham last summer. He joins director of cost management, Paul Camac, and project management director, Stephen Kenny, as new hires, with AECOM doubling the size of its North West PPC team from 30 to 60 colleagues in the past 12 months.

Jonathan Moore, director and head of project, programme and cost management (PPC) in the North at AECOM, said: “Richard will be an excellent asset to our regional team and help bolster our educational expertise across the UK, bringing over two decades of experience in a sector that’s the focus of national and regional policymakers.

“Academic and technical education pathways deserve an equal footing, and recently laid out plans to support apprentices across the region to take up training opportunities is to be welcomed. We’ve also seen a wider push for T-levels nationally to help combat the skills shortages and capacity challenges faced by the UK.

“Having Richard on board will help us respond to this renewed focus from the Government, as well as strengthen our presence across the North of England, to ensure we’re able to provide a team of local, multi-disciplinary specialists able to support every stage of a project.”


L-R: Katie Austin, Joe Orme-Paul, Tim Unwin, Ruth Griffiths, Joanna Crichton, Rebecca Sharrock, Sion Davies, Richard Parker, Rizvan Rasul

Liverpool-based commercial law firm, Hill Dickinson, has announced the promotion of nine legal directors to partner across a variety of practice areas in its business services and health business groups.

The new partners span the firm’s Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds offices, with the business services group making three legal directors partner, and the healthcare group promoting six to partner level.

As a result, in the past two years the firm has progressed 22 colleagues to partner through its internal promotion processes across all three of its business groups and a broad range of its locations.

The full list of promotions for 2024 is: Katie Austin – Private Client, Liverpool; Joe Orme-Paul – Employment & Education, Liverpool; Tim Unwin – Real Estate, Liverpool; Ruth Griffiths – Health Primary Care, Leeds; Joanna Crichton – Healthcare & Public Law, Liverpool; Rebecca Sharrock – Healthcare & Public Law, Manchester; Sion Davies – Healthcare & Public Law, Manchester; Richard Parker – Health Commercial, Manchester; Rizvan Rasul – Costs Health, Liverpool (promoted to partner equivalent).

Nearly half of the partner promotions are women, which is strong evidence that the firm is actively committed to increasing gender equality at more senior levels, it said. In May this year, Hill Dickinson promoted 10 women out of 16 senior associates to legal director.

Craig Scott, CEO at Hill Dickinson, said: “Seeing our talented colleagues develop their careers and ascending through the legal ranks here at Hill Dickinson is one of the most rewarding aspects of my role and these promotions reflect tremendous effort and dedication on their part over many years.

“To reach the status of partner is a fantastic achievement. This year we have seen impressive profitable growth in all areas of our business and these latest promotions are further evidence that we are committed, as a firm, to investing in the development of our people. They will be our future leaders, driving our continued success for years to come.”

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