People: Mills & Reeve; Mechan; Avison Young; and more

Law firm Mills & Reeve has welcomed senior lawyer Nicola Criscione “back to the fold” at its Leeds family team.

Criscione, who has joined as a senior associate, was a member of the original Addleshaw Goddard family team that transferred to Mills & Reeve in 2008 when the firm opened its Leeds office.

She spent seven years at Mills & Reeve where she built up an excellent reputation advising on the full spectrum of family and children matters.

After taking a career break, she has returned to the family team at Mills & Reeve.

Philip Way, family partner and head of the Leeds office, said: “It gives me enormous pleasure to welcome Nicola back to the firm.

“Nicola first joined the team over twenty years ago.  She developed a formidable reputation as a first-rate family lawyer, praised by clients for her dedication, technical acumen and compassion.

“Now, as we press ahead with our ambitious growth plans, Nicola will play a pivotal role in our expansion and be a valuable addition to the services we offer.”


Rail depot equipment specialist, Mechan, is strengthening its technical expertise with the appointment of two experienced engineers.

Tudor Litoiu and Andrew Kennedy join the Sheffield-based manufacturer, to develop design solutions that will enhance the heavy lifting systems it supplies.

Senior mechanical design engineer, Litoiu, will oversee the production of Mechan’s projects, from feasibility to installation.

He will be responsible for liaising with clients, conducting tests, writing technical specifications and managing external suppliers.

He has been involved in the creation of heavy lifting equipment in various sectors since 2006, working most recently as a mechanical design engineer for Goodwin International.

He said: “I am excited to become part of the small, friendly team at Mechan. The firm has an excellent reputation within the rail industry and I feel my skills and experience will help move it forward, improving the solutions we create to benefit customers and our service teams.”

Kennedy has taken on the role of control systems engineer and will be tasked with developing a new control package, to improve existing and new products in the future.

He has a background in electrical design and has spent the last 14 years in a control systems role for Pentangle Engineering.

Martin Berry, Mechan’s engineering director, added: “Tudor and Andrew stood out from other candidates, due to their experience in related industries and I believe they will complement our existing design team perfectly.

“Both have excellent practical and theoretical knowledge that is going to be a real asset to us.”


Strategic real estate advisor Avison Young has appointed Richard Baldwin as director in its leisure team.

Baldwin, who will be based out of the firm’s Leeds office but operating with a national remit, will focus on providing both professional and transactional advice in the core and niche leisure markets.

Having spent over 25 years advising on leisure property, he is recognised as one of the leading specialists within the sector in the UK.

He is known for advising on some of the most unusual trading assets in the UK, for clients including Group Looping, Heritage Great Britain Plc, The National Heritage Lottery Fund, Merlin Entertainments plc, Surf Snowdonia, the Yorkshire Wildlife Park and Birmingham City Council.

Gavin Brent, principal, head of leisure at Avison Young, said: “His knowledge and experience of the leisure markets and property issues make him an invaluable resource which complements excellently the in-house skills of not only the leisure team, but many other professional services departments within Avison Young.

“He is very experienced, able and well liked and will help further strengthen both our specialist offer and our Northern representation.”

Baldwin said: “I am delighted to be returning to Avison Young after a short period away. I’ve never taken my eye off the company and have watched it grow over the last 18 months despite the difficult economic environment.

“The leisure team, including the well-established specialist planning team, goes from strength to strength, and continues to deal with a diverse range of properties.”

He is re-joining Avison Young’s Leisure team after 18 months away, during which time he worked at Rural Solutions, a consultancy firm, advising on rural leisure property diversification.

Baldwin was previously a director with Avison Young, joining as part of Humberts Leisure in 2011.


Leeds and York accountancy, advisory and audit firm Garbutt + Elliott, has started the New Year with the appointment of a technical and audit partner to the expanding firm.

Claire Needham joins following 19 years working at KPMG where she was most recently leading the Accounting Advisory team across the North of England as well as providing audit services to the Yorkshire market.

Her client base ranged across AIM, PE backed, privately owned and FTSE 100 companies across several industries including retail, manufacturing, house building, speciality chemicals, logistics and professional services.

She is the third partner to join the Garbutt + Elliott team in the last year.

Needham said: “I am excited to join Garbutt + Elliott and be part of an ambitious and growing firm who have had tremendous success in the last year.

“I have worked with a wide range of businesses of different sizes and sectors and am keen to share my experience with my colleagues and clients.

“COVID-19 has had a significant impact on many businesses and their financial reporting, and it is vital we work together to support our clients to mitigate risk and respond to ever-changing regulatory accounting and reporting requirements.”

Russell Turner, managing partner, added: I am delighted to welcome Claire as technical and audit partner to the Garbutt + Elliott team. She brings with her a wealth of experience and an impressive track record.

“These are exciting times for our business and Claire’s appointment reflects our continued commitment to invest in our people and deliver specialist services to our clients through genuine experts.

“Last year our turnover increased by 28% and Claire, alongside our other audit partners, will lead our expanding team through the next phase of our growth.”