People: The latest West Midlands hires

Law firm Shakespeare Martineau has appointed heavy-weight education and real estate partner Clive Read as its head of Birmingham.

Read has more than 30 years experience in advising universities and colleges on the management and development of campuses.

Advising across all aspects of real estate, he has worked on major redevelopment projects, land sales and acquisitions, large-scale student lease agreements and the management of occupiers, for the likes of University of Arts London and University of Derby.

Read joins the firm from VWV, where he was head of the Birmingham office for five years. During this time he took the team from single figures to more than 30 people and grew the office turnover to more than £3m.

He said: “I’m delighted to be heading up the Birmingham team, as the culture and ambition of the firm fits so well with my own values. It’s also great to be part of a firm that is already so well-known for property and education. I look forward to growing the teams and collaborating with experts in different fields, to better service our clients.

“Education has had a tough year and the pandemic will likely result in major changes for the sector moving forward, it’s our job as legal professionals to help protect the best interests of institutions, their staff and students.”

Joanna Deffley, regional head for West Midlands, said: “Clive is such a well-recognised name in Birmingham and the education sector and we’re so pleased that he is joining our team and heading up our largest regional office. He brings exceptional experience and shares our market-focused, growth ambitions.”


Punter Southall Wealth, the chartered financial planning and wealth management firm, has expanded its Birmingham team by welcoming two new planners.

Lorraine Denton, a chartered financial planner and a Fellow of the Personal Finance Society, joins the team along with George Nabbs, a wealth management consultant and financial planner.

Denton will be bringing 25 years’ industry experience to the team.

She advises high-net-worth clients before and during retirement, along with providing inheritance tax and succession planning expertise.

Nabbs, a financial planner with a diploma in regulated financial planning, is currently working towards Chartered status.

Henry Denne, head of financial planning at Punter Southall Wealth, said: “The pandemic and the uncertainty it has created for clients means that professional financial planning advice is needed more than ever to protect people’s financial security. We are seeing major growth in demand for our services in the West Midlands and have established a great team who can help clients plan financially for every major stage and event in their lives. We also look forward to building new partnerships with solicitor firms in the region.”


Birmingham-based Clearwater International has added to its team after completing 49 deals involving TMT businesses in the last 12 months.

Clearwater International has appointed Wesley Fell-Smith to partner. He joined Clearwater International in 2014 as a director in the TMT team and during the last seven years, he has completed 17 deals worth close to €1bn.

The company has also recently recruited two new partners to the UK and French TMT teams.

Nathaniel Cooper joins Clearwater International in the UK with over 15 years’ M&A experience and significant knowledge of the digital media, online marketplace, marketing technology, B2B information services and data, and software markets.

Clearwater International in France has recently appointed Jérémy Sartre to co-lead the TMT team alongside Nicolas Saint-Pierre. He joins Clearwater with over nine years of M&A experience from SGCIB, Barclays Capital and Avolta Partners as well as experience as a tech entrepreneur supervising a leading European crowdfunding platform through over 60 funding rounds.

Carl Houghton, partner and international head of TMT, said: “Trends in the technology space have accelerated far faster than anyone could have predicted before the pandemic. Valuations have been driven up as investors see the resilience and sustainability of the macro trends in the market and how digital transformation continues to move up the boardroom agenda. It’s essential for Clearwater International to continue to expand the team with experienced, tech-focused individuals not only to deliver pure tech transactions but also to collaborate across the wider Clearwater sectors which are all experiencing their own digital revolution. I am delighted to announce these promotions and new hires as the team expands and continues to complete exciting and significant deals in the tech market.”