People: Skipton Building Society; Humber Freeport; XSEM; and more

Skipton Building Society has promoted Alex Sitaras to become its new head of savings and partnerships.

He has supported the savings product development team for the last 10 years, and has served a stint as savings senior product and pricing lead.

Leaving education with a degree in Geography, he joined the Society’s operations team in 2013, where he served customers behind the scenes for two years before progressing into the savings and partnership product development team.

Since joining the team, he has overseen the development of Skipton’s online pricing strategy, overseen the transformation of its home insurance proposition and developed the building society’s member benefit proposition.

In his new role he will be responsible for delivering the objectives for savings, home insurance and life insurance.

Sitaras replaces the outgoing Maitham Mohsin, who has moved to a new operational role at the building society.

Mohsin becomes head of operations for the building society’s Money division, working alongside Sitaras to support Andrew Bottomley, Money CEO.

Sitaras said: “Maitham is tough act to follow, but I’m really excited to have the opportunity to lead the Savings and Partnership team here at Skipton Building Society.

“After 10 years of working alongside the team on some great projects that have given real value to our members, it’s a pleasure to be leading them onwards.

“As we continue to navigate through this high-rate landscape, our members rightly continue to rely on us for our savings expertise as a building society, and to create solutions that will help their money work harder to counter the cost-of-living challenges they are facing.

“I’m looking forward to helping them do that.”


Humber Freeport has appointed Simon Green as permanent CEO and revealed its Board line-up.

Green has served as Humber Freeport’s interim CEO since April, steering the organisation through a launch period which has seen major inward investments secured.

He has now been appointed Humber Freeport’s permanent CEO, leading the delivery of the company’s work to attract significant investment and its core workstreams of innovation, decarbonisation and skills.

The Humber Freeport Company has also confirmed the membership of its Board, featuring prominent figures from the private and public sectors.

Humber Freeport chairman Simon Bird said: “The announcement of Simon as our permanent CEO, together with confirmation of our Board membership, marks another key step forward for Humber Freeport.

“Simon has steered the organisation’s development successfully over the past few months. His permanent appointment recognises the excellent progress that has been made in that time and the considerable experience and expertise he brings to the role.

“We’re also happy to have brought together an excellent Board, made up of highly-respected private and public sector leaders who have the collective skills, knowledge and passion to support our ambitions.

“These are exciting times for the Humber, as we look to maximise the region’s huge potential and attract transformative inward investment driving economic growth and job creation.”

Green moves permanently to his role at Humber Freeport from North Lincolnshire Council, where he served as its deputy chief executive. 

He has over 30 years’ experience in development and corporate governance, having worked for public and private sector organisations in the North, Midlands and abroad.

The Board is made up of representatives from some of the region’s most important and influential organisations. In addition to Bird and Green, Board members are:

  • Jo Barnes, managing director, Sewell Estates.
  • Carolina Borgstrom, director of economy, environment and infrastructure, North East Lincolnshire Council.
  • Alex Codd, assistant director, economic development and regeneration, Hull City Council.
  • Professor Neal Juster, vice chancellor, University of Lincoln.
  • Alan Menzies, executive director of planning and economic regeneration and acting chief executive, East Riding of Yorkshire Council.
  • Stephen Parnaby OBE, deputy chair, Hull and East Yorkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
  • Patrick Pogue, group director, growth and innovation, px Group.
  • Marcus Walker, development director, Able UK.

Further private sector appointments to the Board are expected to be confirmed soon.

Green said: “The Humber has a compelling role to play in UK plc, driving economic growth as a global gateway for trade and investment, and leading the drive for industrial decarbonisation.

“Working with our chair and Board members, and with regional partners, I’m looking forward to continuing to harness the benefits of freeport status to unlock new opportunities for investment and growth.”

Humber Freeport was officially launched earlier this year, which the aim to drive hundreds of millions of pounds of investment and create at least 7,000 new jobs.


Leeds-based brand engagement agency, XSEM, has appointed Nick Burrows as head of experiential to enhance its service offering.

This appointment comes off the back of recent client successes for the agency.

Although based in Yorkshire for 20 years, Burrows spent over a decade at London-based TRO as client service and marketing board director, where he led on strategy, project management and client relations for experiential clients.

He will now be advising current XSEM brands, including Molson Coors Beverage Company and Suntory (Lucozade, Ribena), on their experiential strategy.

Having worked previously with household names such as Guinness, Johnnie Walker, Google and Nike, he is passionate about bringing brands to life by offering strategic direction and consultation.

He said: “I’m more obsessed with why brands are trying to create experiences first, rather than the how and what. That comes more naturally when you understand the why.

“I’m captivated with the culture at XSEM and have been enormously impressed with their work so far.

“They have such a solid foundation for us to be able to do some brilliant and meaningful work for our current client base and future partners. It’s clearly an inspiring, creative and commercially driven agency.”

Managing director and co-founder, Dan Bardgett, said: “Nick joins us at a crucial time in the business having recently enhanced our client portfolio.

“We’re pleased to have him on board and look forward to seeing where his creative brain can take our experiential offering to the next level.

“Nick’s positive outlook on creativity, integrity and service excellence are perfectly aligned with our own values.”


Leeds-headquartered Harron Homes has appointed Lee Kirkland as construction director for its Yorkshire region.

With over 20 years in the construction industry, he brings a wealth of experience to his new role overseeing the development and delivery of luxury homes across Yorkshire.

Starting out as an apprentice bricklayer at age 17, he rose through the ranks at his first job, becoming a site manager by the age of 23.

He said: “I had worked for Harron Homes earlier on in my career as a site manager, for a period of about two and a half years, and I really enjoyed my time there.

“It’s important to lead, but it’s equally important to empower others to lead as well. I’ve been in this role for only a few months, yet I’ve already seen tremendous success stories of employees delivering spectacular results.

“I want to keep building the team up and improving its confidence. This goes hand in hand with ensuring we continue to hit our KPIs on a consistent basis.

“Ultimately, it’s important that when we say we do something, we do it – I want to cement that reputation so that all our employees can continue to have the utmost pride in Harron Homes.”

Tony Lee, managing director, added: “Harron Homes is a place where anyone with the ambition and compassion to deliver the best homes around can make an excellent career for themselves.

“Lee’s trajectory is testament to his dedication to the industry and to housebuilding.

“That he has shown himself to be invested in the evolution of each employee under his wing, as well as in the evolution of the business as a whole, is proof of his unflagging commitment to his career.”