People: Bexley Beaumont; Gensler; Conference Aston

Bexley Beaumont has welcomed two new faces in the Midlands.

Partner Zafar Rafiq becomes the sixth member of the firm’s corporate team in the region with a specialism in restructuring and insolvency and arrives at the same time as real estate specialist Holly Smith.

She takes the total number of lawyers advising a growing roster of clients on Real Estate, Planning and Environmental matters to 20.

They join just weeks after Bexley Beaumont also added Birmingham-based legal director Phil Miles to its corporate team.

Bexley Beaumont has now appointed 13 partners across the country and all legal disciplines this year, six of whom have arrived in the last month.

CEO Karen Bexley said: “We count ourselves as extremely fortunate to benefit from the impetus which we’ve established.

“When we launched, we were determined to attract the most capable individuals and provide them with the kind of support which might allow them to do work of the very highest quality.

“Zafar and Holly are proof positive of our desire to assist the Midlands’ business community reach its own full potential by expanding our operations.”


Madeleine Hilton has been appointed managing director of Gensler Birmingham, leading a team of 50 specialists in the built environment.

With more than 20 years experience of working in Birmingham, Hilton’s breadth of expertise spans education, industrial and logistics, transportation, residential and commercial sectors.

Since joining Gensler in 2022, she has been instrumental in positioning Birmingham as a centre of excellence for critical facilities. She was also appointed a Global Leader for Industrial and Logistics, collaborating with leaders across the world to develop the firm’s client portfolio.

Duncan Swinhoe, managing principal, Europe at Gensler, said: “We are delighted to promote Madeleine Hilton to Managing Director of Gensler Birmingham as the office approaches its 10-year anniversary in the city. At Gensler, we are committed to leveraging our skills and talents to create positive impact as we shape the future of our cities across the world and redefine the urban experience. As a proven leader, innovator and role model, we look forward to the contributions Madeleine will continue to make in this exciting new role, driving the growth of the business and having a positive impact in Birmingham, across the UK and beyond.”

Hilton said: “I am delighted to be appointed managing director of Gensler Birmingham. I am proud to call this city home for over 20 years, having delivered projects for a number of local organisations during this time. I look forward to continuing to develop the business we are doing in Birmingham and across the region in this role, as we continue to design innovative solutions for our cities.”


Usha Bangar has joined Conference Aston as sales manager.

Bangar has worked in other notable organisations in the hospitality sector such as Hampton By Hilton Birmingham and Copthorne Hotel Merry Hill in a career spanning almost two decades in the industry.

Samantha Brown, head of Conference Aston, said: “As Birmingham continues to evolve as a hub for business and innovation, Conference Aston remains at the forefront, embracing both the reactive and proactive aspects of the industry. With a commitment to excellence and a focus on delivering unparalleled service, we are set to make a significant mark in Birmingham’s corporate landscape.

“We look forward to working with Usha as we continue to push the venue forward as the go-to conferencing, events and hospitality sites in the Midlands.”