People: Walker Morris; Ramsdens Solicitors; Visit Hull and East Yorkshire; and more

Leeds-based law firm, Walker Morris, says Richard Naish has become its new head of corporate.

He succeeds John Hamer, who has led the firm’s Corporate Group for 14 years and is now taking on the new role of chair of the LLP.

Naish has wide M&A experience across a variety of industries in the UK and overseas.

He heads the firm’s Food & Drink group and, while many of his clients are in that sector, he also works with clients in the software, technology and healthcare industries, where there is considerable interest from Europe and the US in UK-based businesses.

Alongside this, he works with many of the firm’s PLC clients and their advisers on IPOs, fundraising and public bids.

Under Hamer’s leadership, the Corporate Group has quadrupled its turnover and its lawyer count by 45% since 2018.

The Corporate Group has a total of eight partners. In addition to Hamer and Naish, the team includes Debbie Jackson, Daniel O’Gorman, Jo Stephenson, Oliver Duke, Thomas Mieszkowski and newly promoted Michael O’Halloran.

Hamer said: “The Corporate Group is a fantastic team who’ve built long lasting relationships with our clients.

“I’m sure that, with Richard at the helm, the team will continue to be successful, and I’ll continue to play an active part in the team, advising on deals.

“Walker Morris is a great place to work and the only major law firm headquartered here in Leeds, so it’s an honour to be asked to take on the role of chair.”

Naish added: “Many thanks to John, who’s led the team for the last 14 years through some testing times, including the financial crisis, Covid-19 and Brexit.

“I’m excited to take over such a strong group and push on from where we are now. We offer a great place to work and provide our clients technical excellence alongside pragmatic, commercial advice, something that’s at the core of the team and something we’ll be sure to continue.”


Yorkshire-based law firm Ramsdens Solicitors, which has 11 offices across the region, is strengthening its company and commercial practice by appointing Adam Cockroft to take the reins of the nine-strong team, supported by former head Stephen Newman.

Having joined Ramsdens in 2010, Cockroft has played a key role in the growth of the practice acting for a diverse range of clients from small businesses to large corporates, across a range of sectors spanning healthcare, retail, industry and professional services.

He also represents a number of clients with large property portfolios, and his specialisms include sales, acquisitions, mergers and corporate re-organisations.

Newman, who is stepping aside from leading the team after more than two decades, remains a partner and will continue to advise his clients and assist Cockroft as the team continues to grow and build its reputation.

Newman said: “It is time to hand over leadership of the team to the next generation of lawyers. For any business to thrive, it’s important to acknowledge when to make change, and Adam is an excellent lawyer whose enthusiasm and new ideas will take the practice into a bright and exciting future.

“Stepping back from head of the practice also gives me the opportunity to concentrate on what I enjoy most, serving the needs of this firm’s clients.

“My passion for my work has never diminished and I am looking forward to getting back to the ‘coalface’”.

Cockroft added: “With our long-established name, which is trusted by businesses and individuals throughout Yorkshire, I am excited to have the opportunity to lead the company and commercial practice into the next phase of our development.

“It will very much be about harnessing the latest technology and modern ways of working while delivering the outstanding service our clients have come to expect.

“Stephen’s knowledge and years of experience will be invaluable as he supports our dynamic team which includes some of the region’s most talented dealmakers.

“With deal volume and size increasing every year, we have established a solid client base and have our sights set on further growth.”


Regional tourism partnership, Visit Hull and East Yorkshire (VHEY), has appointed Chris Blacksell, a deputy lieutenant of the East Riding of Yorkshire, as the new chair of its Advisory Board.

Blacksell brings extensive leadership experience to the role of chair, having most recently served as chief executive and chief fire officer of Humberside Fire and Rescue Service, from 2017 to 2022.

He was chair of the Humber Local Resilience Forum, from 2016 to 2022. He oversaw planning for and the response to emergencies across four local authority areas, and contributed to an Independent Review of the Civil Contingencies Act.

Blacksell said: “I have lived and worked in this area all my life, bringing up children and grandchildren here. I wholeheartedly welcome the opportunity to help maximise our incredible offer for visitors, which is something that I’ve always been proud to promote.

“I’m honoured to take up the position of chair of Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board.

“I look forward to working with stakeholders across England’s tourism industry to promote and enhance the unique offer of our vibrant region.”

Councillor Robert Pritchard, portfolio holder for tourism at Hull City Council, said: “We are excited to welcome Chris Blacksell as the new chair of Visit Hull and East Yorkshire’s Advisory Board.

“His extensive leadership experience and deep-rooted connection to our region make him the ideal person to drive forward the growth and development of our visitor economy.”

Cllr Nick Coultish, portfolio holder for tourism at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “Chris Blacksell’s appointment is a tremendous asset to our tourism sector.

“His strategic vision and passion for Hull and East Yorkshire will play a crucial role in enhancing our tourism offering.

“The combined commitment of both local authorities and the advisory board under Chris’s leadership will ensure we continue to grow and develop our fantastic visitor economy.”


Leeds-based Town Centre Securities PLC (TCS) confirms that Jeremy Collins, non-executive director, has informed the Board he intends to retire from his role with effect from 30 June 2024.

He was originally appointed to the Board in 2018.

TCS chairman & chief executive, Edward Ziff, said: “On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Jeremy for his valued contribution during his time on the Board of Town Centre Securities, which has coincided with a period of significant challenges and transformation for the business.

“His insights and advice over the past six years of service have been greatly appreciated and we wish him well in all his future endeavours.”