People: Freeths; audioadpro; Team Topologies; and more

National law firm Freeths has established a new energy offering in the North with the appointment of partner Deborah Harvey, expanding on its wider national practice.

Joining from Osborne Clarke in London where she led the firm’s international Energy Innovation Group, Harvey has over 14 years’ dedicated energy sector legal experience.

Her practice focuses on clean energy transactions, agreements, and regulation. She is experienced in dealing with all forms of renewable energy generation technology.

She is particularly recognised for her experience of route to market arrangements, with her specialisms including asset optimisation and corporate power purchase agreements.

Harvey has a keen interest in energy innovation, which includes the role of data in energy and the interplay between energy and mobility – her practice includes the energy aspects of mobility projects, and she is currently acting for clients in this area of the sector.

At Freeths, she will look to further develop the firm’s energy offering and work with the national team to grow the practice in the North.

Freeths managing partner of the North, John May, said: “Deborah’s appointment is key for our ongoing Freeths sector strategy as we continue to experience unprecedented growth in our Northern offices.

“I’m certain her wealth of experience will help provide a vital offering for both new and existing clients.

“Deborah joins dozens of recent talent acquisitions for the firm in the last year since we expanded our office space in Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds.”

Commercial partner Iain Bowler said: “The energy market has never been more prevalent, and Deborah’s renowned capabilities are certain to bolster our leading dedicated clean energy, waste and sustainability practice.

“With our team working with high profile clients to roll out innovative clean energy solutions across the country, the latest having advised SmartParc on the development of a low carbon energy solution for a major food production and distribution hub in Derby, I’m confident Deborah will continue to make her mark on the sector here at Freeths.”

Harvey added: “I’m excited to have arrived at Freeths. With its enviable accelerated growth and impressive client list, the firm is the ideal environment for me to continue my work within the clean energy sector.

“Working alongside a talented group of lawyers with extensive experience of delivering energy projects, I believe I can make a real difference for my clients.”


audioadpro, a Wakefield-based specialist digital audio advertising platform, has appointed Jo Bucci as chair. 

With a distinguished career of strategic and commercial leadership in the audio and publishing  sectors particularly, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company.  

Currently CEO at The Jewish Chronicle, Bucci has also held senior executive roles at News UK, Wireless Group, Peoples Post Code Lottery, Leicester City Football Club, GCap Media and Century Radio Group.  

Roger Cutsforth, co-founder of audioadpro, said: “Jo’s remarkable track record of success and deep understanding of the media and  audio landscape made her our ideal choice and we are blown away that she was inspired by our vision.  

“We know that with her guidance, audioadpro will go from strength-to-strength.” 

Bucci said: Digital audio advertising represents a dynamic and rapidly evolving space, and I am excited to work with Roger, Michael and the team  at audioadpro to capitalise on emerging opportunities and drive sustained success.” 

As chair, she will collaborate with the firm’s executive team and advisors to provide strategic oversight and guidance, ensuring the company remains at the forefront of digital audio  advertising innovation.


Leeds-based consultancy, Team Topologies, has appointed Val Yonchev as its head of customer success.

This is a strategic move to further the consultancy’s dedication to helping companies improve their digital operations and achieve better results.

Yonchev brings extensive experience from roles at Red Hat Open Innovation Labs and Digital.AI.

Matthew Skelton, co-CEO at Team Topologies, said: “I am thrilled that Val is joining our core operation.

“There is no one worldwide more suited to leading our customer and partner success efforts than Val, and I am very excited for the forthcoming acceleration and expansion of Team Topologies around the world, as a result of Val’s leadership.”


Train operator, Northern, has appointed David Sparling as its new head of IT.

Sparling, who is from Wakefield, has almost 30 years’ experience in the IT industry.

He began his career as a software developer at First Direct bank before holding a number of senior IT roles at HSBC, managing people and projects across the world.

More recently, he was head of IT at The British Library before taking on the role of chief technology officer at Anchor Trust, a specialist housing and care provider for people in later life.

In his new role, he will build on the activity already underway across the train operator’s fleet, station estate, crew bases and office facilities.

He will also develop the IT strategy to ensure it supports the train operator’s business plan.

Sparling said: “I’ve been interested in the railway most of my life and I’m really excited to join Northern.

“I am looking forward to getting to know how the business works, to see what opportunities technology can bring to support colleagues and customers.

“I’m also looking forward to getting into the industry and seeing what my experience in leading technology can bring to it.”