People: McCormicks Solicitors; FOD Mobility Group; Unity Enterprise; and more

Harrogate law firm McCormicks Solicitors has appointed a new partner.

David Birks joins as head of the Commercial Disputes and Sports Litigation team which offers litigation services to both individuals and businesses across the region as well as nationally.

Before becoming a solicitor Birks headed the North Yorkshire Trading Standards Consumer Advice Team and Special Investigations team, dealing with regulatory matters and specialising in anti-counterfeiting matters.

He has also spent time working on behalf of the Secretary of State for the Department of Trade and Industry specialising in directors disqualification and insolvency, and is a member of the R3 Insolvency and Restructuring.

Senior partner Peter McCormick said: “We are pleased to welcome David on board, bringing as he does in-depth expertise in a complex area of law which is a key focus for the practice.”

Birks brings significant experience across a range of disciplines, with matters involving breach of contract, unfair prejudice claims, partnership disputes, professional negligence, landlord and tenant, dilapidations claims, HM Land Registry and matters with multi-jurisdictional elements.

He acts for a broad range of clients, including insurers, national and international corporates, entrepreneurs, large family estates, insolvency practitioners (and those facing claims by them), charities, the Premier League, Leeds United FC, Norwich City FC, Wycombe Wanderers FC, Harrogate Town FC and the Isthmian League.


Multi-platform technology company, FOD Mobility Group, has strengthened its executive board with the recent appointment of Sarah Smith as chief financial officer.

She was formerly CFO at one of the UK’s fastest-growing multi-channel retailers, where she was responsible for leading the finance, operations, and IT departments.

Prior to this she was finance director for a luxury bathroom manufacturer and held senior management roles at accounting and consultancy firms, RSM Tenon (formerly Baker Tilly) and BHP.

In her new role she will be driving FOD Mobility Group’s financial management and strategy to ensure profitable and sustainable growth at a time when the company is experiencing accelerated expansion of its operations in the UK and Europe.

She said: “I feel incredibly fortunate to have been invited to join the team at FOD. The strength and depth of skills, as well as the market experience of the board, immediately captured my interest.

“As soon as I met with the exec team it was clear we were very aligned on ambition, culture, values, and ethics – all critical factors for me that I was looking for in my next role.”

Justin Whitston, CEO and founder, added: “Sarah’s extensive financial experience, combined with her strategic and operational expertise, makes her a valuable addition to our leadership team.

“We’re looking forward to working with Sarah to continue driving further growth and scaling our business as we expand our innovative and sustainable mobility solutions within the UK and European markets.”


Richard Altoro has been appointed as business adviser by Unity Enterprise, a not-for-profit subsidiary company of Leeds housing association Unity Homes and Enterprise.

He will lead business development within the Chapeltown and Harehills area, and oversee the launch of a local enterprise hub at Leeds Media Centre which is currently undergoing a £1.8m refurbishment in partnership with Leeds City Council and the European Regional Development Fund.

The building is one of three business centres operated by Unity Enterprise close to Leeds city centre which collectively offer 142 affordable business units for more than 80 diverse businesses.

Reporting to Unity Enterprise manager Adrian Green, Altoro has extensive experience of supporting start-ups, existing businesses, community organisations and social enterprises.

He has previously worked for Unity as a business adviser for Unity Enterprise and Leeds Chamber of Commerce, supporting start-ups and SMEs with business planning, cashflow forecasts, sourcing finance, copywriting, marketing, branding and social media strategies.

Altoro said: “It is an exciting time to be joining Unity Enterprise with the Leeds Media Centre redevelopment scheme due for completion next summer. This will significantly expand capacity with 12 new business units, in addition to a bespoke business hub with hi-tech virtual facilities and meeting areas.

“My mission is to deliver a major boost to the enterprise culture in Chapeltown through the provision of professional support to enable aspiring local entrepreneurs to succeed.”

Cedric Boston, Unity Homes and Enterprise chief executive, said: “We are more than a housing association. Guided by our social purpose, we are driven to empower people to improve their lives by creating economic opportunities.  Unity Enterprise is central to this.

“We are particularly keen to reach out and provide support and assistance to local people who want to set up their own business and have the talent to succeed but have not yet been given that chance.

“Richard possesses a wealth of business experience and expertise which will be invaluable to the entrepreneurs of today and tomorrow. He is an excellent fit for the role.”


Sheffield and Chesterfield-based accountants, Shorts, has welcomed Shannon Wilson to its Radius R&D Tax Reliefs team.

She joins Radius as a manager, adding further expertise and experience to the specialist R&D tax team.

Wilson arrives after four years as a specialist R&D Tax consultant at a major professional services consultancy firm.

Prior to this, she achieved her bachelor’s degree in Business Management from the University of Chester, followed by a master’s degree in Financial Management from Sheffield Hallam University.

She said: “It’s always nerve-racking starting a new job, but I’ve had such a warm welcome from everyone I have met so far.

“In the short time I’ve been here, everyone has truly made me feel part of the team. I look forward to seeing how I can develop my career further with such a forward-thinking and well-established company as Shorts.”

Scott Burkinshaw, tax partner and head of Radius, added: “Radius is built around deep expertise, a proactive ethos, and a passion for great client service.

“Shannon brings all of this to the Radius team, and I have no doubt she will excel at delivering great service and advice for our clients.

“HMRC is continuing to crack down on error-strewn R&D tax relief claims. This is why it has never been more important to expand our R&D team with talented and experienced R&D tax specialists like Shannon.”