People: Arnold Laver; Fiducia; Avant Homes West Yorkshire; and more

Specialist timber merchant, Arnold Laver, has appointed Lee Pollitt as manager for its Northallerton branch and Claire Leckenby to the branch sales team.

The Northallerton branch is one of 15 Arnold Laver sites across England, and was the former head office site of NYTimber.

All NYTimber branches have now been brought into the Arnold Laver network by parent company National Timber Group (NTG).

Pollitt was previously regional sales manager for NYTimber, and Leckenby was previously business administration manager based at Northallerton.

Pollitt said: “It’s exciting to be part of the wider Arnold Laver network. Our aim is to make the Northallerton branch, including our flooring and doors showroom, the local go-to specialist timber merchant for trade, self-build and DIY customers alike.”

Tom Andrews, trade branch director NTG England, added: “Lee has hit the ground running as he already has excellent relationships with our Northern customers. He has 13 years’ experience in the region and is a true timber specialist.

“Claire has over 20 years’ experience in the timber and builders’ merchant sector, and brings that valuable understanding of both our business and our customers’ expectations to her new role in sales.

“Our teams always aim to provide the best customer service based on timber knowledge and experience.”


Specialty insurance managing general agent (MGA), Fiducia, has appointed a new senior development underwriter to its marine cargo, freight liability and fine art and specie facilities to support UK and European brokers.

Mike Hall joins the Leeds-based MGA from Zurich Insurance where he worked for 16 years, becoming head of marine in 2020.

In this role, he led the UK underwriting team and was responsible for profit and loss management across the cargo, fine art and specie and UK regional marine portfolios.

With 26 years’ underwriting experience within the marine and cargo insurance sector, he has also held roles at CNA Insurance and RSA.

Hall said: “Fiducia’s client-first approach makes it stand out within the specialised insurance marketplace. The business has established a reputation for positive service, competitive pricing and empowered, knowledgeable underwriters.

“It’s great to be joining the highly regarded marine cargo and freight team and I look forward to working with them and supporting its growing client list and broker base.”

Last year, the company made its cargo products available on the Acturis online insurance platform, which gives partner brokers direct access to Fiducia’s underwriters.

Welcoming Hall to the company, Fiducia CEO, Gerry Sheehy, said: “Mike has a strong underwriting record and is a fantastic addition to our team.

“He has a very personable and professional approach to his work, which perfectly aligns to the ‘can-do’ attitude we have at Fiducia and will be a significant asset to support our partner broker relationships.

“Marine cargo and freight continues to face a range of risks, and it is essential that our partner brokers have access to expert underwriters who can develop policies which best meet their clients’ challenges.

“Mike’s appointment will significantly boost our underwriting capabilities alongside ensuring we continue to cement our market-leading position.”


Avant Homes West Yorkshire has further enhanced its leadership team with two new senior appointments who will help drive forward the housebuilder’s multi-tenure strategy.

Gareth Uttley and Mark Beevers join as technical director and head of land respectively, and will both be based in the regional operating company’s Wakefield head office.

With 16 years’ experience in property and housebuilding, Uttley is responsible for leading an experienced technical team on the region’s multi-tenure development opportunities.

This includes working with colleagues in land, commercial, construction and site management to enable effective development delivery.

Before joining the business, he previously held senior technical roles at Keepmoat Homes and Persimmon Homes.

Beevers joins from Persimmon Homes where he was head of land and planning.

He has 10 years housebuilding industry experience and is responsible for securing new multi-tenure development opportunities for Avant Homes across West Yorkshire and beyond.

Managing director, Richard Hosie, said: “Gareth and Mark are both highly respected operators who possess the ambition, skill and understanding to further propel our business forward in the delivery of our multi-tenure strategy.

“They have joined a committed and highly capable regional team and have already made a big positive impact. We look forward to seeing them play a significant role in the ongoing evolution of Avant Homes West Yorkshire.”

Avant Homes West Yorkshire is part of the Avant Homes Group, which operates across the north of England, Midlands and Scotland from eight regional operating businesses.


Elovate Group Ltd, a fulfilment outsourced service provider for the e-commerce and charity sectors, has appointed Rachael Nevins to the role of chief executive officer (CEO).

The firm’s 300 staff work across four sites in York, Sittingbourne, Slough, and Winsford.

The business was formed in 2023 through a merger of four companies (Telebank, Mosaic Fulfilment Solutions, CommittedGiving and Thorn Distribution) together with significant investment in technology.

Nevins said: “I am thrilled to have joined at such an exciting time for the organisation.

“My initial focus will be on ensuring that we’re delighting our clients with products and services that not only give them a great experience, but also help them to succeed and reach their business and charity goals.

“Elovate has a talented and experienced team in place with real strength and depth of specialist knowledge. I look forward to working with them to build on the business’s commitment to delivering the best in customer service and innovation.”

Chairman, John Willox, added: “Rachael has a wealth of experience in service-oriented businesses and comes to us with the enthusiasm and qualifications to lead the business in substantial growth.

“Under Rachael’s leadership, the business will be ideally placed to maximise numerous opportunities that now lie before it, and to utilise its strong platform for sustained and ongoing success.”