People: Bridgemere Group; Mills & Reeve; Muse; Bexley Beaumont; Westmorland Homecare; Weightmans; Gateley; MSIF

Nicole Burstow

Nicole Burstow has joined Bridgemere Group as chief financial officer.

The Bridgemere group of companies is led by Redrow Homes founder Steve Morgan CBE, and has a substantial presence in the housebuilding sector through its substantial shareholding in Redrow plc and its subsidiary Castle Green Homes, one of the UK’s fastest growing housebuilders, with additional interests in commercial property, leisure, and healthcare.

She had been the anointed successor at Dow Schofield Watts, and oversaw their admission to AIM in December 2021 which she describes as “my biggest achievement and provided a platform to accelerate the growth of the network. At the time, I was 39 and one of the youngest female CFOs of an AIM-listed company.”

She said of her new role: “Now it’s on to a new challenge and today I start a new role working for Steve Morgan CBE as CFO of Bridgemere Group. Very excited for the future!”


Ruj Dev

National law firm, Mills & Reeve, has appointed Ruj Dev as its chief financial officer.

In addition to leading the firm’s finance team, Ruj will be a key member of its senior leadership team. Ruj is a qualified Chartered Accountant and has worked in the legal sector for more than 12 years. She joins from Brabners where she was chief financial officer.

After training at PwC, Ruj has held financial management roles at several law firms, including Hill Dickinson and DWF, and has also worked for Merseyside Police.

Ruj, who will be based in the Manchester office, has a wealth of experience in project management and has worked closely with senior board members to implement and deliver strategic, commercial and operational change.

In 2021 she was named Finance Director of the Year at the North West Finance Awards and in 2022 was shortlisted as CFO of the Year by Women in Finance Awards.

Claire Clarke, managing partner, said: “This is a great time for Ruj to join Mills & Reeve as we look to embark on implementing our new 2030 strategy. As a key member of the senior leadership team, Ruj will have a vital role to play in executing our bold plans for the firm over the next five years.”

Ruj said: “I am thrilled to join Mills & Reeve at such an exciting time and am eager to get started in delivering the firm’s ambitious national and international growth strategy. I look forward to leading a dynamic team who will drive innovation and excellence, making a meaningful impact on our clients and the industry.”


Sam Wilson

Muse, the nationwide placemaker, has grown its team in the North West with the addition of two regeneration experts, Alex Vogel and Sam Wilson.

Alex has been appointed Senior Development Manager, bringing almost 10 years’ experience in residential and mixed-used regeneration.

Joining from Greystar, Alex actively managed the delivery of Greenford Quay, a regeneration masterplan which delivered 2,000 new homes, commercial space, and public realm as part of a new waterfront neighbourhood in London.

Joining the Muse team in the North West, Alex will support the delivery of the Oldham Town Centre Regeneration Masterplan. A partnership between Oldham Council and Muse, the masterplan is set to deliver a new neighbourhood, complete with 2,000 new homes across a mix of tenures.

Alex Vogel

Also joining the team is Sam Wilson as Project Manager. Sam joins from AtkinsRéalis, where he supported the delivery of the £240m arts venue ‘Factory International’, working in partnership with Manchester City Council.

Sam has also supported the delivery of Tower Works, a 245-bed mixed-use build to rent scheme in Leeds, and the design of Nikal’s Blackpool Central regeneration. As part of the Muse team, Sam will help deliver a pipeline of new places in Blackpool, Wirral, and Warrington.

Phil Marsden, Managing Director at Muse-North West, said: “Alex and Sam join Muse with extensive placemaking experience. Their knowledge and insight, gained from supporting significant and large scale regeneration, will be invaluable to our team.

“We have seen strong growth in our business over the last 12 months. Expanding our team allows us to create additional capacity and bolster our knowledge and skills. Alex and Sam will be critical to our long-term vision and achieving our targets.”


Karen Bexley

Manchester-based boutique law firm, Bexley Beaumont, has made six new partner appointment as it strengthens its ranks in the North West and across the rest of the country.

The latest arrivals include Liverpool-based Construction and Engineering specialist Earle Brady, Social Housing specialist Amy Stirton from Lancashire, and Corporate lawyer Toby Adkins in Leeds.

They coincide with the recruitment of Health and Safety expert Gary Lewis in Manchester and Real Estate advisor Holly Smith and Zafar Rafiq, who handles a large volume of Corporate and Restructuring cases.

Both Ms Smith and Mr Rafiq are based in the Midlands.

Together, the new arrivals mean that Bexley Beaumont, headed by chief executive Kren Bexley, now has 61 partners with a further five Associate Solicitors, despite only opening its doors in 2020.


Daniel Stainer and Katie Pennington

A homecare provider with five branches across the North West has made two top management appointments. Daniel Stainer is now a Regional Director of Westmorland Homecare, while Katie Pennington is the new Registered Manager at the Lancaster and Morecambe branch.

The company, which has branches at South Lakeland, Poulton, Fylde and Wyre; Preston, Penrith; and Lancaster and Morecambe, says the changes reflect its commitment to progressing staff in their careers.

In his new role Daniel, 35, is the overall leader of the five branches and will be responsible for new branches the company is hoping to open soon. Daniel said: “At Westmorland Homecare we want to progress staff in their careers and invest in their potential, putting them in positions where they can continually grow professionally.”

During the Covid pandemic Dan started working for Westmorland Homecare at its South Lakeland branch, which has offices in Kendal and Grange-over-Sands, and became its deputy manager before moving to the Lancaster and Morecambe branch as manager in February 2022.

Taking over from him as Registered Manager at the Lancaster and Morecambe branch is Katie Pennington, 28, who lives at Ulverston. Katie did a Level 3 NVQ in Health and Social Care at sixth form college before entering full-time employment in the NHS in orthopaedics at Wrightington Hospital in Wigan.

Katie, mum to two-year-old Ezra, said: “They are big shoes to fill but I am confident that with Daniel being such a big part of the company and with the amazing team I have at Lancaster, that the branch will continue to flourish.”


From left: Ben Davies, John Darnell, Sam Harland, Richard Burrows, Rachael Fawcett

Liverpool-based national law firm, Weightmans has announced the promotion of six new partners in Liverpool.

The new partners are: Ann-Marie Mercer, Business Services (Data); Ben Davies, Litigation; John Darnell, Litigation; Rachael Fawcett, Casualty; Richard Burrows, Disease; Sam Harland, Healthcare.

They form part of a cohort of 15 new partners to be promoted in the firm nationally. Representing five years of consecutive growth, the promotions fall within a range of specialisms and across the firm’s national network of offices. Of those promoted, eight are female (53%). The firm had a target of having at least 40% female partners by 2025, but has already exceeded this (41%), and now has a new long term aim of achieving a 50/50 split by 2030.

It brings the firm’s total number of partners to 248, including equity.

Weightmans also revealed that it has promoted 12 to legal director nationally, compared with five in 2023, including four in Liverpool.

John Schorah, managing partner, said: “I want to congratulate our new partners on their well deserved promotions. All embody what Weightmans is about – hard working, passionate about people, caring, and unwavering in their ambition to provide clients with first class expertise, advice and support. Again, it is proof of Weightmans’ commitment to its people. We invest, nurture and reward our top talent so they can not only progress their careers with the firm, but can perform at the highest level for our clients.”

All promotions were effective from the beginning of the new financial year.


Stuart Evans, Hayley Sullivan, Paul Jefferson

Professional services group, Gateley, has appointed partners Stuart Evans and Hayley Sullivan as the new joint heads of its 220-strong Manchester office.

Stuart has been with Gateley Legal for 19 years and is a partner in the Pensions Unit. He is MD of Entrust, Gateley’s professional independent pension trustee company, and Gateley Legal’s national Training Principal. Ranked in Legal 500, Stuart advises on a wide range of pensions issues including equalisation, benefit entitlements and the interpretation of trust powers. He also established the Enplan Pension Platform, Entrust’s final salary pension scheme consolidator.

Hayley heads up the construction teams’ non-contentious practice and is a board director of Gateley Capitus, the property and innovation tax incentives consultancy arm of professional services group, Gateley.

She has been with Gateley Legal for more than 17 years. Ranked in Legal 500, Hayley acts for sureties, funders, developers, housebuilders, end users, contractors, sub-contractors and consultants on a wide range of residential, commercial, leisure and industrial schemes.

Stuart and Hayley, succeed Paul Jefferson who has headed the office since 2020. Paul is stepping down to focus on his role as national head of private equity and as a member of the Group’s Strategic Board.

Rod Waldie, CEO, said: “I am grateful to Paul for his leadership, tenacity and dedication to the role since 2020. Amongst other things, he guided our Manchester team through the challenges of Covid and resultant change in working practices.

“With a combined 35-plus years at Gateley, the leadership of our Manchester office with Stuart and Hayley could not be in better hands. I am looking forward to seeing them write the next new and exciting chapter for Gateley in Manchester.”

Paul Jefferson said: “It has been my privilege to lead the office over the last four years.”

Stuart Evans said: “It’s a great honour for us to take on this role and represent the dynamic and motivated specialist teams we have in Manchester, evidenced by the superb cohort of promotions this year.”

Hayley Sullivan said: “We are excited to harness that energy to drive further success in the region and to enhance the excellent Gateley culture and team spirit that we are so proud of.”


Louise Towers and Richard Thomas

MSIF, a supporter of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Liverpool City Region, has announced the appointments of Richard Thomas and Louise Towers as Non-Executive Directors to its board.

Richard Thomas is a proven business leader with more than 25 years of experience as a successful commercial lawyer, insolvency practitioner, and entrepreneur. He co-founded the law firm DTM Legal in 2008 and grew it to a £6m business with 75 staff across two offices in Liverpool and Chester. Previously, Richard was an equity partner at Walker Smith Way, then Chester’s largest law firm.

He said: “MSIF plays a vital role in nurturing entrepreneurship, and I look forward to working with the team to further its impact.”

Louise Towers, FCA, brings a wealth of financial leadership experience in high growth companies and non-profit organisations. She currently serves as the Global CFO of Bikmo Insurance, a specialist bike insurance broker, where she has helped drive the company’s European expansion. Louise has held CFO and director roles at various organisations, including Broadway Partners, the Energy Innovation Centre, Marketing Cheshire, and high tech companies like Spiral Software and Netcall.

She said: “I am excited to join MSIF’s board and contribute to its mission of supporting the local business community. As a Chartered Accountant and experienced executive, I look forward to working alongside the talented team at MSIF to foster an environment where SMEs can thrive.”

Neil Ashbridge, Chair of MSIF, said: “They bring a broad range of skills and experience that will enhance the current board’s skill set at an exciting and pivotal time for the MSIF Group and the LCR entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

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