People: Evolve Corporate Finance; DukesHill; Ecommerce Intelligence

Evolve Corporate Finance, the independent corporate finance firm headquartered in Birmingham has appointed Gary Ward to its team.

Ward brings more than 30 years of experience as a dealmaker, private equity investor and business growth expert. Most notably as a partner at Gresham Private Equity, senior business development positions at both LDC and PwC, and in recent years, running his own private equity consultancy, advising and investing in businesses across the UK, Europe, and South Africa.

Ward joins Evolve Corporate Finance as partner following a string of senior appointments at the firm in the last 10 months. Gary is an experienced dealmaker and he will focus on leading the firm’s business development strategy, building existing and new client relationships and helping the firm strengthen its links with the wider advisory community and professional network.

Gary Ward, partner said: “I am delighted to be joining the team at Evolve and proud to be a part of what is one of Birmingham;s most exciting, new, and emerging corporate finance houses. The values that founders David and Justin have woven into the fabric of this business, align perfectly with those that have served me well throughout my long and varied career.

“Their focus on providing specialist, expert advice, their consistent delivery of outstanding results, and the value they place in great relationships that stand the test of time is a formula for success in this fast-moving sector.”

David Neate, partner and co-founder of Evolve Corporate Finance added: “This is an exciting appointment for our firm and we are delighted Gary is joining us to continue our development following a strong first 18 months since we launched Evolve. Gary’s background, experience, and expertise in leading business development in private equity and deal origination will help us to further accelerate our growth plans. He joins at an exciting time as we continue to build a national, partner-led practice advising owner-managers, founders, and institutions on acquisitions, disposals, and raising finance.”


Chris Dee

Renowned artisan ham producer, luxury hamper and fine foods supplier DukesHill has announced the appointment of Chris Dee, former Director of Food and Home at Harrods and CEO of Booths, as its new Non-Executive Chairman.

Dee brings 30 years of food and drink retail, hospitality and FMCG experience to the role, having specialised in the premium and luxury sectors across physical store retailing, hospitality and online.

Alongside his previous executive experience at Harrods and Booths, Dee has been a non-executive chairman of peanut butter brand ManiliLife, Lucy’s Dressings, Hesper UK’s Skyr and meringue producer Flower & White. He has served in a board advisory capacity for brands Sacla UK, Pipers Crisps, Remeo Gelato and the vitamin water company Get More Vits, and has also raised finance and advised private equity firms.

Dee’s appointment follows a successful trading period for Royal Warrant Holder DukesHill in 2023, in which its trade business doubled due to new listings in Ocado with the launch of their traditionally dry-cured premium bacon range and Gloucester Gateway which showcases DukesHill’s finest sliced ham.

Mark Gallagher, CEO of DukesHill said, “We’re thrilled that Chris is joining DukesHill as its Non-Executive Chairman. He brings a wealth of experience and strategic insight to the role and we’re very much looking forward to working with him”.

Chris Dee commented, “I’m delighted to be joining DukesHill and working with the talented team there. It’s an exceptional brand with a growing reputation and an exciting time to be onboard as they look to expand the business”.

Shropshire-based DukesHill was established in 1985 curing ham using time-honoured traditional techniques. Since then its range has grown through its championing of artisan producers whose skilled use of unique and traditional methods create outstanding food and flavours. DukesHill offers an array of expertly cured hams, bacon and gammon joints, with Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and The Ritz just some of the famous food locations where you’ll find DukesHill’s finest traditionally cured hams.


Scott Bass

An ecommerce expert has appointed a new director as it looks to capitalise on a successful year of growth.

Amazon agency Ecommerce Intelligence, which helps businesses sell their products on Amazon, has appointed Scott Bass as its Operations Director.

It comes as the business enjoyed 25% growth in 2023 and has set itself a similar target this year.

Bass joined the Shrewsbury-based company more than three years ago and held the position of Performance Manager.

“I’m delighted to have started my new position as Director of Operations at Ecommerce Intelligence,” he said.
“It’s been the best working environment I’ve ever been involved in and I love how dedicated and hard working the whole team are to each of our clients.

“I’m delighted to be stepping into a directorship role and continuing to build our clients’ accounts and work with new brands throughout the coming years.”

The £1m business relocated to new offices last year to enhance its operational capabilities and support future growth. It currently has over 50 clients including NikWax and Ardo Medical.

Founder Chris Turton said: “I am truly thrilled that Scott Bass has joined the board. We have always worked towards rewarding our people who invest themselves into our business.

“He has been a leading force at Ecommerce Intelligence for over three years and his experience, skill and development of our service has earned him the promotion.”

The team has a combined experience of 40 years across different facets of the Amazon Marketplace and has supported more than 170 Amazon accounts to date.

The business, which also has an office in the USA, currently employs 11 people and Chris said they are looking to grow that number this year – including taking on new account and marketing managers.

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