People: Finance provider adds to team; Board appointment for National Grid; and more

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Catalyst Finance has appointed Richard Steele as a client account director to join its sales team.

Steele has 16 years experience supporting SMEs in the finance market. He started his career as a start-up business manager for Barclays then moved into corporate banking as a relationship director leaving after 14 year tenure.

From there he has worked in business development roles for BCRS Business loans, RateSetter and most recently Growth Street.

His remit will be to develop Catalyst’s network of intermediaries across the Midlands and East Anglia regions.

Martine Catton, COO at Catalyst said: “Richard joining the team to build our presence in the Midlands is hugely exciting. 2018 has been one of best trading years we’ve had at Catalyst. I’m delighted to have him on-board, to contribute in making 2019 just as successful.”


National Grid has welcomed Earl Shipp as a non-executive director of the board.

Shipp is an experienced and strategic business leader who spent his 38-year executive career with The Dow Chemical Company where most recently he was responsible for more than a third of the Dow Chemical’s global asset base and the US Gulf Coast operations, until his retirement in October 2017.

He has gained significant international experience, having lived, built and operated chemical plants in Japan and the Middle East, as well as in the Midwest and Southeast US.

He was also responsible for Dow’s strategic growth in North America, where he achieved growth in the region for the first time in two decades.

On retiring from Dow, Shipp was elected to the board of Olin Corporation, the global manufacturer and distributor of chemical products and a leading U.S. manufacturer.

Sir Peter Gershon, chairman of National Grid, said: “Earl brings a wealth of experience to National Grid’s board in particular having led in a safety critical process environment and culture and driving growth across an organisation.”


Tony Rice has joined Ultra, the international defence, security, transport and energy group, as a non-executive director and chair.

He will succeed Douglas Caster, who intends to step down as chair and retire from the board on 28 January.

Rice is chair of Dechra Pharmaceuticals, the senior independent director of Halma plc, and was formerly the senior independent director and remuneration committee Chair of Spirit Pub Company.

Earlier in his career, he was CEO of Cable & Wireless Communications, CEO of Tunstall and held a number of senior roles in BAE Systems.

Simon Pryce, CEO, said: “I am delighted that Tony has agreed to join Ultra as its next chair. He is an extremely experienced professional and has a strong business track record which will be of enormous benefit to Ultra. I look forward to working with him in the future.

“On behalf of the board and staff of Ultra, I would like to thank Douglas for his long service to the group and as a board member since 1993. He has made a considerable contribution and commitment to the group over the last thirty years and has helped develop it into an international defence and electronics company.”