People: Chatter Communications; HJ Consulting Engineers; Graham & Rosen Solicitors; and more

Employer brand specialist Chatter Communications, which has offices in both Leeds and London, has made two senior appointments to its team.

Geoff Pedder has joined as an employer brand strategist, bringing with him more than 20 years of experience in recruitment marketing and employer branding.

He has worked in client services, media strategy and buying, media sales, research and consulting at organisations including TMP, Havas, Stafford Long, Talent Works International and CA3.

He will spend time getting under the skin of Chatter’s clients to craft and develop employer brand strategies and campaigns to meet the needs of the business.

Pedder said: “My new role will include designing insight strategy, understanding and translating data and crafting compelling propositions.

“Day-to-day that could mean I’m running focus groups and interviews, consulting on comms, composing insightful creative briefs, or presenting work back to stakeholders.”

Matt Devall joins as a senior account manager. His most recent role was at Fishtank Creative, having previously held positions at McCann, Iris and BJL.

He brings with him experience working on brand development, retail focused campaigns and digital activation, with clients such as Coca-Cola, Aldi and Guinness.

Devall will help with all aspects of client service at Chatter, working across a wide range of businesses.

He said: “I feel that understanding people and their motivations is one of my key skills and Chatter works with some amazing organisations.

“I’m hoping to bring my experience of working with a really wide range of brands and different types of client teams to the Chatter mix and I feel my skills will complement the brilliant team that’s already in place and doing award-winning work.”

Lisa Pearson, partner at the business, added: “Both Matt and Geoff bring a wealth of experience with them and a positive and enthusiastic outlook. They’re a great asset to the team and we very much look forward to working with them.”


A new director has joined civil and structural engineering specialist HJ Consulting Engineers. (HJCE)

Andrew Fairburn will lead the civil engineering team, and work alongside the senior management team at the Wakefield-based business on planned strategic growth, new business development and developing a team of engineers and technical specialists.

He brings more than 30 years’ experience, having worked on a variety of engineering projects including multi-million pound construction schemes in the commercial, industrial, leisure and residential sectors.

HJCE director, Mark Holloway, said: “It’s great to have Andrew on board. He will be a key addition to the board of directors as we continue to expand our presence across the north of England and nationally this year, while also delivering the highest standards of service and engineering solutions to current clients.”

HJCE, which currently employs 15 specialists, plans to open a second office in Leeds to meet demand for its construction engineering services from commercial and residential property developers.

The company is targeting £2m turnover in the next 12 months.


Experienced litigator Peter Duffus has joined Yorkshire-based Graham & Rosen Solicitors as  a consultant.

He will to assist with a wide range of litigation matters, bringing over 30 years of  experience to the firm.

He brings a long track record of success to Graham & Rosen in disputes over estates, property, insurance coverage, dishonest personal injury claims, partnerships, defamation, and professional negligence, as well as disputes over the sale of derivatives and industrial  espionage, some of which have involved worldwide freezing injunctions.  

Admitted to the profession in 1986, Duffus became a partner at another respected Yorkshire-based firm in 1995, where he worked until 2022.

In his time there, he acquired a  formidable reputation for handling “unusual disputes” with skill and  determination.

Duffus said: “About a year ago, I decided to take a career break and went trekking in Nepal on the trip of a lifetime.

“On my return however, I was missing the challenge of practising law and the camaraderie of being around likeminded professionals.

“Having known the partners at Graham & Rosen since 1993, I was aware that they worked to extremely high standards and felt I could add some  value to their practice.

“I was pleased to be asked to join them and am confident my long experience will add another string to their bow.” 

Graham & Rosen’s solicitor, finance & managing director, Iain Boyle, said: “We’ve known  and respected Peter for many years, and are happy to have him on board.

“He was at  another high-profile firm for over 25 years, so his experience is beyond question, and we’re  looking forward to harnessing his knowledge to the benefit of our clients.

“Peter lives and  breathes our philosophy of putting clients’ needs front and centre, and when it comes to his ability and specialism, he is at the top of the tree.”


Sheffield-headquartered housebuilder, MJ Gleeson, says Nicola Bruce joined its Board as a non-executive director with effect from 24 March 2023.

Following a career specialising in strategy and business development at both private and listed companies, she has latterly gained extensive experience as a non-executive director.

In 2018 she joined the Board of Hanover Housing Association, which specialises in affordable housing for the over 55s.

In 2019 Bruce joined the Board of Anchor Hanover Group, England’s largest provider of specialist housing and care for people in later life, where she is currently senior independent director and remuneration committee chair.

The following year she was appointed a non-executive Board member at OFWAT, the economic regulator for the water sector in England and Wales. 

And in 2021 she was appointed a non-executive director and chair of the Remuneration Committee at Stelrad plc, a building materials manufacturer.

It was recently confirmed that she will be joining the Board of Ibstock Plc, a UK manufacturer of clay bricks and concrete products and solutions, as a non-executive director with effect from 29 March 2023 and will be appointed chair of the Remuneration Committee with effect from 27 April 2023.

On joining the Board of MJ Gleeson Nicola will become the chair of the Remuneration Committee, with Elaine Bailey stepping down as interim chair, and will also become a member of the Audit and Nomination Committees.

James Thomson, MJ Gleeson chairman, said: “We are pleased that Nicola, is joining the Board. With her strategic perspective and affordable housing experience, I look forward to the contribution Nicola will make to the success of the company.”