People: Bank appoints COO; Law firm makes seven promotions

Unity Trust Bank has appointed Mark Clayton as its new chief operating officer.

He joins Unity Trust Bank after 23 years at HSBC, having held a number of senior roles. Most recently, he was head of premier distribution where he led the strategic growth of the retail premier and international business.

Headquartered in Brindleyplace, Birmingham, Unity Trust Bank supports businesses and organisations that share its philosophy to support economic, community and social change. In March this year, Unity Trust Bank announced a 30% increase in lending growth over 2019, with over £243m of loans approved to socially responsible businesses.

Clayton will lead the bank’s customer proposition to ensure Unity is well positioned to meet the needs of its existing customers and those businesses seeking change.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining at such an exciting time. Having focused on financial wellbeing and seen first-hand the positive impact it has made, I have a deep understanding of the vital role that banks play in society. Unity’s ambition to deliver sustainable growth and make a positive and lasting change in the communities it serves were key factors in my decision to join the team.

“The last few months have been unprecedented on many levels. Unity has adjusted working arrangements to keep colleagues safe while remaining focused on supporting our customers. Amid this uncertainty I believe that customers will seek out those organisations that provide excellent service, and we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate how banking can be better.”

CEO of Unity Trust Bank, Margaret Willis, added: “Mark’s vast experience will be a hugely valuable addition to the team. These are uncertain times for many businesses and Unity will continue to adapt and respond quickly to their needs, ensuring customers remain central to our thinking.”


Pic cap (top row, left to right): Philip Rea, Lorna Tipple, Stephen Rome, (bottom row, left to right), Louise Jones, Laura Williams, Stewart Coles, James Monk

Thursfields Solicitors has announced senior promotions for seven of its top lawyers.

Lorna Tipple, Philip Rea and Stephen Rome have all been promoted to the position of director at the company.

Tipple initially trained at Thursfields 15 years ago and, after a wealth of experience at other firms and running her own practice, she returned to the company last year as an associate director in the Family Law department.

Divorce specialist Rea joined Thursfields’ Family Law department as a senior associate in 2018, while Rome joined the company as a senior associate in the Dispute Resolution department in the same year.

Nick O’Hara, managing director at Thursfields, said: “I am very pleased to announce the promotions of Lorna, Philip and Stephen to the position of director.

“They have all made a great contribution to the business since they joined us and I am sure they will continue to do so.”

Thursfields has also announced the promotions of Louise Jones, Laura Williams, James Monk and Stewart Coles to the position of associate director.

Jones joined Thursfields as a senior associate and head of Residential Property in 2016, and has been head of New Homes since 2017.

Williams arrived as a solicitor in the Family Law department in 2016 and since then has been promoted to associate and senior associate level.

Monk and Coles both arrived as senior associates in the Employment & HR Law and the Commercial Property departments respectively in 2018.

O’Hara said: “Louise, Laura, James and Stewart have made and are still all making a very valuable contribution to the business and fully deserve this recognition.”

He added: “The economy is going through the most challenging of times and to be able to announce the promotion of lawyers of this very high calibre in our business is a very positive message that we are sending to the market place.

“In short: we are here, and we have quality lawyers who are fully equipped with the right experience to give you the best legal advice.”


Sophie Seddon, people and culture director at Stoke-headquartered contractor Novus, has been appointed a board trustee at the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) in a role that will see her play a part in future-proofing the sector and making it more inclusive.

She will be using her experience, both within the industry and after more than 10 years at Novus, to help shape and inform future training schemes that incorporate new technology, sustainability issues and encouraging inclusivity within the industry.

Novus offers numerous routes to help young people kick-start their careers in construction, from a range of apprenticeship opportunities to its graduate training programme, helping tackle the skills shortage felt across the industry’s talent pool. To date, the business has trained 70 apprentices.

The CITB is the construction industry’s training board for England, Wales and Scotland. It provides knowledge, research and insight to help inform training and apprenticeship schemes across the industry. It also works with business leaders from across a range of different subsectors to help inform and guide its programmes.

Tony Elliott, group HR director at Robertson Group, has also joined the board.

Seddon said: “The CITB plays an invaluable role in the training and development of the construction industry’s talent of tomorrow. To join the board and help guide its future direction is an honour and a challenge that I’m looking forward to getting stuck into.

“I’m aware from my own experience that more can be done to help make the industry more inclusive, tech-savvy and sustainable and I’m looking forward to ensuring these themes are prevalent in our future work.”

Peter Lauener, chair of the CITB Board, said: “I’m delighted to welcome two extremely talented people to our board. We need a diverse range of talent, in terms of skills, experience and personal background, and I’m sure Sophie will strengthen our decision-making at this critical time. With the challenges we face through Covid-19, and with a new CITB Strategic Plan in development, she will play a leading role in ensuring there is a strong skills-based recovery for construction.”