People: Harron Homes; Great Rail Journeys; Sheffield Housing Company; and more

Harron Homes Yorkshire has appointed Darren Harley as its part exchange manager to oversee the delivery of its Part Exchange scheme for customers looking to trade in their old house for a new Harron home.

He brings extensive knowledge of the housing market from his 35 years in the property industry having worked with new homes, property auctions and estate agencies across the country.

Harley said: “I started my career as a trainee surveyor back in the 1980s, so I’ve been helping people move home since then.

“As part exchange manager I provide Harron Homes customers with a tailored service, helping them to take full advantage of our moving services.

“I guide our customers through the process and make sure we achieve a sale on their property quickly and at the right price. This means working closely with estate agents up and down the country, as well as solicitors and mortgage brokers, as well as the Harron Homes sales team.

“Part Exchange allows the customer to sit back and enjoy the process. With no chain to suddenly fall through, it’s wonderful to be able to provide customers with the peace of mind that we are a secure sale as a cash buyer and have a real interest making the move as comfortable as possible.”

Alison Taylor-Shaw, sales and marketing director for Harron Homes Yorkshire, said: “We are pleased to have Darren on board. His knowledge and wealth of experience is a real asset to the team and is fantastic for our customers, guiding them through the Part Exchange process.

“We’re excited to see what Darren can do and look forward to seeing him progress in the business.”


The Great Rail Journeys group, which is based in York, has made promotions within its US and UK leadership teams, in a move to further company-wide support development and growth.

The international travel business has confirmed Liz Owens has been promoted to senior vice president, general manager of vacations by rail, the US division of Great Rail Journeys.

Since her appointment in 2022, she has been behind the brand’s double-digit growth. With continued focus on strategic initiatives she will now oversee the US Sales and Service teams, bringing commercial attention to the brand’s primary customer touchpoints.

Missy Paul has been promoted to director of independent operations of vacations by rail, bringing a big focus to the Independent programme.

She has extensive experience, having worked in travel for 16 years and will use her expertise to grow the independent programme over the next few years.

Sarah McMullen has stepped up from head of people to director of people. She said: “I’m happy to be recognised for my contribution and I’m excited to continue leading the people agenda for Great Rail Journeys and Vacations By Rail.”

McMullen is leading the development and talent management of a growing team across two continents. She will help deliver the people change programme which will secure the group’s plans over the coming years.

Dave Riley, group CEO, said: “I am really pleased to see the continued development of our teammates who are driving the business forward at a rapid pace.

“It is fantastic that we are able to retain and develop both our long serving teammates – Missy – as well as some newer team members, Liz and Sarah.

“I have no doubt they will continue to grow and develop both the business teams and themselves as we navigate the next phase of our great journey.”


Sheffield Housing Company (SHC), a housing regeneration partnership which has delivered over 1,350 homes in the city, has appointed a second development manager.

Alex Best, from Penistone, joins the team as it prepares to build 500 more homes in Sheffield over the next five years.

Best has significant industry experience, having worked in the private and public sector on a wide range of projects – including housing, commercial warehouse space, and managing six Sheffield school sites.

In his new role he will oversee four sites in the Manor, three sites in Norfolk Park in the south of the city, two sites in Parson Cross and one in Shirecliffe in the north, as well as supporting resident relations with people neighbouring the sites.

He said: “I am excited to become part of Sheffield Housing Company’s team. It is a unique role that brings together a lot of my experience from previous positions.

“Working as part of a small and highly motivated team, I am particularly looking forward to playing a part in building modern, stylish homes that add to the character and distinctive skyline of Sheffield.”

Established in 2011 with a target of building 2,300 properties on a total of 23 sites by the end of 2026, SHC is Sheffield City Council’s joint venture development company with private developer Keepmoat Homes and Great Places Housing.

Steve Birch, development director with SHC, said: “Alex has an excellent knowledge of the city and the construction industry and his expertise will be invaluable as we move forward with the next stage of our delivery program, bringing more sites forward.

“As a small team – all local to the area – we are passionate about Sheffield and delivering housing that will enjoy longevity and help welcome more people to our city.”


TransUnion, a Leeds-based global information and insights company, has appointed Praneeth Meka as its new chief data and analytics officer for the United Kingdom and Europe.

The appointment sees the business combine data asset management and data science and analytics leadership into one leadership role for the first time.

Meka is responsible for the full lifecycle of data from acquisition to analysis, modelling, and ongoing quality enhancements that position the business for future growth.

He will advise the UK and Europe executive and their teams on the benefits of TransUnion’s data assets and how evolving technology can support the business’s drive to bring innovative solutions to market.

Prior to this new role, he led the transformation of data science and analytics within the TransUnion UK business, building a team of data scientists and analytics consultants to support growth.

He also launched Innovation Labs in the UK business, which saw 14 successful events in 2023, leading to direct improvements in revenue.

Meka said: “Data asset management and data science and analytics are an intrinsic part of TransUnion’s growth, and they’re at the core of producing new models, products and strategies for the business.

“I’m excited to be steering a team that will support all lines of our business to become more data-driven, and to be a part of the executive team of inspirational leaders.”

Meka joined TransUnion UK in March 2021 from HSBC UK, where he was head of product and digital analytics, after senior data-led roles at Emirates NBD, JP Morgan Chase, and Citigroup, among others.

TransUnion’s chief data and analytics officer for international markets, Dinesh Chawla, said: “With his extensive experience in data asset management and data science and data analytics, Praneeth’s skills and leadership talents bring a unique capability that will be a growth enabler for our region.”