People on the move: UKFast; OBI Property; Slater & Gordon: LHS Solicitors; Certas Energy

MANCHESTER cloud and dedicated hosting provider UKFast is bolstering its product development and marketing team with the appointment of former Barclays exec Garry Prior as director of product marketing.

Prior brings 14 years’ experience in product management and joins the tech firm after successfully managing campaigns at Barclays, Rackspace and O2.

The appointment comes as market demand drives rapid innovation across UKFast’s product portfolio.

Prior gained experience of building and running cloud hosting products whilst at Rackspace, and spent eight years with O2, coinciding with the launch of the first iPhone and the growth of mobile apps as a channel.

He joins up with UKFast’s award-winning dev ops team to support the development of new and existing products.

UKFast chief executive Lawrence Jones said: “Garry knows the importance of working closely with customers to provide them with the best service and has a vast understanding of product development and marketing strategy.

“The pace of change is so rapid in the tech industry that we’re ensuring we have the resources in place to guide our evolution. On G-Cloud alone we now have 42 products, so it takes a huge amount of management.

“We’re putting massive investment into evolving our products and providing support so that our clients get the best results from using them.

“The product team is listening to what our clients need and generating incredible offerings to meet the demands of the market. The industry’s changed. It’s important to create APIs so clients can evolve their own products to work alongside ours.”

Having relocated from London to Manchester for the role at UKFast, Prior is now tasked with recruiting new team members to grow the product management department.

He said: “What attracted me to UKFast is a combination of the culture and the environment. In finance it was sometimes hard to get things done.

“Every decision had to go through five different boards, regulations and compliance. I’ve missed the tech sector and I was well aware of UKFast’s excellent reputation during my time in hosting. This, as well as the opportunity to develop and grow a team, made my decision to join the company an easy one.”

UKFast has enjoyed 17 consecutive years of organic growth, generating revenues of £34.3m in 2015. Earlier this year the firm opened up the option of a £40m bank facility from RBS to fund acquisitions and drive new growth.

Jones said: “I see the product marketing team expanding quickly over the next 18 months on both the development and the commercial side. We’re creating a champion for each product line who is a specialist in that area, helping customers understand how it benefits their business.”  
The tech firm announced a recruitment drive to bring 100 new team members on board in spring and the first half of the year saw a record 5626 applications for roles.


OBI Property has announced Eleanor Ashworth and Rogena Gordon have joined its workplace consultancy team, bringing the OBI team to 22 people.

Gordon is an experienced, highly creative interior designer with an established track record in multi-disciplinary design working with architectural and design companies. 

With seven years’ experience, Gordon most recent role was working with Manchester based 74 Architects, where she worked on high profile projects including Wilmslow Park Phase 2, Oxford Road, Manchester.

She has also worked on a range of commercial and resident projects throughout her career. Rogena graduated from the University of Salford with a degree in interior design in 2009.

She said: “Being born and raised in Manchester, it’s fantastic to join to OBI Property and work on some of the most exciting design and fit-out projects in the City.  I always look to push boundaries and lead on design trends and I know working with OBI Property will give me the opportunity to do just that.”

Ashworth is a mid-weight interior designer and joins OBI with six year’s experience having graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2011.  Her most recent role was working on the new build Warrington Council Offices and large scale hospitality projects with Koncept ID (Leach Rhodes Walker). 

She spent last year working with Deloitte Australia’s Digital team on a concept retail store for Blackmores at Westfield Shopping Centre at Bondi Junction, Sydney.

She said: “I am looking forward to working with the team at OBI Property. There’s some really exciting projects ahead, with a lot of variety in Manchester ranging from iconic art deco buildings to new buildings such as No 1 Spinningfields that I can’t wait to be a part of. I hope I can bring something extra to the team and help expand the OBI portfolio.’

Andy Crompton, workplace consultancy, OBI Property said: “Rogena and Eleanor are both very talented interior designers.  Their flair and ability to clearly understand our clients requirements and aspirations will be invaluable to us at OBI Property.”

OBI Property is an established real estate consultancy which provides innovative solutions to its landlord and occupier clients which include, NCC Group,, Allied London, Bruntwood, LJ Partnership, British Airways and CBRE Global Investors.


LAW firm Slater and Gordon has expanded its family law team in Chester to respond to a significant increase in clients in the area.

Lucy Williams, who is newly qualified, has spent the majority of her two years training in Chester within the family department.

The growing team in Chester and Wales will be led up by the new head of family Roland Humphreys.

Humphreys, originally from North Wales, specialises in divorce, separation and children law. He also brings more than a decade’s experience handling finances on divorce as well as prenuptial and postnuptial agreements.

Humphreys said: “We are committed to nurturing talented lawyers like Lucy and investing in their future with the firm. As were have seen a significant increase in our client numbers, it is vital that the local community has access to our world class legal services.”

“Amanda McAlister, head of family law at Slater and Gordon: “We are delighted to welcome Lucy to the team, as part of our nationwide recruitment drive.

“This expansion will allow us to strengthen our department of family law experts in the region to combat the growing demand for family law expertise in the region.”


MANCHESTER law firm LHS Solicitors has appointed Gareth Martin to its award-winning regulatory team.

Martin joins from Thompsons Solicitors, also based in Manchester. Before that he was at Irwin Mitchell for two years and was a partner at Nikolich & Carter Solicitors for six years.

Martin specialises in criminal defence, particularly Very High Cost Cases (VHCCs) and large scale fraud cases (MTICs). He also advises professionals in regulated sectors including healthcare and education.

Murray Fairclough, director of legal services at LHS, said: “Gareth is a leading professional in the field of criminal and regulatory law. He will make a fantastic impact on our esteemed regulatory team. We can’t wait to welcome him on board.”

Martin said: “I can’t wait to join the esteemed regulatory team at LHS. As winners of the ‘Regulatory Team of the Year’ at Manchester Legal Awards 2014 and 2015, I’m hoping 2016 will be a hat trick win for the team.”


WARRINGTON-based Certas Energy has appointed Angus Blundell as marketing director to coincide with the launch of its new website.

Blundell joins Certas from Sun Chemical, where he was marketing director EMEA. 

He will be responsible for delivering customer focussed marketing strategies across commercial and domestic markets in the UK. 

Blundell said: “The launch of our new website is very exciting for Certas Energy and our customers.  The transactional feature will mean a much smoother customer journey and will make ordering a much easier process for those customers wishing to purchase online.  We aspire to be our customers’ fuel partner – offering helpful advice and industry leading customer service.”