People: Wildcat Digital; LCF Law; Ride Shotgun; and more

Rich Ayre has been appointed as head of growth at Sheffield-based digital agency, Wildcat Digital.

His career spans more than eight years at some of the North’s biggest agencies including Journey Further, Jaywing and twentysix.

In his new role, he will be working with founder Will Hitchmough and as an extension of the wider team, to develop sales strategies for sustainable long-term growth.

Hitchmough, founder of Wildcat Digital, said: “The head of growth is a new role here, playing an important part in the next phase of our growth, increasing revenue and profitability to the business.

“Rich has a great breadth of experience having spent his early career working with SMEs and smaller businesses.

“He understands the unique challenges that come when competing with bigger brands and the need to maximise results on tighter budgets.

“This understanding, combined with his experience working with enterprise-level brands and household names, means he’s perfectly placed to guide clients as they navigate digital marketing options.

“He clearly understands what it takes to go from an SME to a challenger brand, which is where our expertise lies also.”

In his new role, Ayre will take ownership of the overall growth strategy, from lead generation and relationship management with the agency’s network, through to pitching and closing new business.

Ayre added: “Having worked with a variety of businesses, on reflection, I found that I really enjoy collaborating with growing and challenger organisations.

“Wildcat’s mission of ‘helping brands punch above their weight online’ resonated with me and represented an opportunity to do the work I enjoy most.

“There’s something really satisfying about working with brands as they compete with larger brands in their marketplaces.

“On a personal note, I’m excited about working with everyone at Wildcat, there’s some great talent and I can’t wait to get started.”

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Three new partners have joined an expanding Yorkshire law firm which has recently reported double-digit growth.

LCF Law has appointed Rebecca Ridley, Liam O’Neill and Ellie Foster, who have 60 years combined legal experience.

Ridley has spent the last 14 years working at well-known Leeds firms, and most recently working at KPMG Law. She joins LCF Law’s corporate team, which works with businesses of all sizes.

She said: “I’ve always had a real sense of justice and enjoy negotiations, as well as successfully navigating deals for clients.

“Guiding clients through a transaction process, as well as advising on business restructures, succession planning, employee ownership schemes and much more, is a real privilege.

“I’ve led large-scale business sales for corporates over the years and I also particularly enjoy working for owner managed businesses, helping them to solve problems and achieve their goals.”

O’Neill joins LCF Law’s personal law team in Ilkley and brings more than 26 years’ experience to the role, most recently working at Harrogate-firm, Berwins.

He said: “I’ve known Neil Shaw, who heads the department at LCF Law, for years and know what a great team he has built.

“Now was right time for me to make the move, and I look forward to continuing to help clients with wills, probate, trusts.

“I’m also keen to continue my disputes work, supporting both the personal and disputes teams dealing with errant trustees and mediating will disputes for example, bridging the gap between these two areas of the law.”

Foster joins the family law team from Harrogate-based Raworths and previously worked for two Leeds based firms.

Having completed a masters degree in chemistry, she moved into law in 2001, training at a London law firm.

She said: “I wanted to work with people going through a difficult time in their lives, which is why the family side of law appealed to me.

“Helping clients who are separating or divorcing, arranging pre and post marital agreements and dealing with disputes between people who have previously lived together, to ultimately resolve their issues, is very rewarding.

“I have particular expertise in the financial aspects of divorce, and dealing with very complex high net worth cases, both mediating and taking court action when necessary.

“Every legal case I work on needs forensic analysis and a logical approach, especially when dealing with complicated financial matters and pensions of divorcing couples.”

She is a member of Resolution, the largest membership organisation for family justice professionals and is a Resolution trained mentor, as well and being a trained collaborative lawyer.

LCF Law managing partner, Ragan Montgomery, said: “All three new partners are not only highly experienced lawyers, but they really care about their clients and have longstanding relationships that results in plenty of repeat work and recommendations.

“We look forward to working with Rebecca, Liam and Ellie as we continue to strengthen our 145-strong team.”

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Leeds and Sheffield-based content agency, Ride Shotgun, has appointed Steve Armstrong as group finance director.

He will take responsibility for Finance and HR functions for the agency with immediate effect, reporting directly to CEO Mark Mallinder. 

Armstrong is an MBA graduate of Manchester Business School and has so far had a 15-year career spanning diverse sectors including hospitality, travel and technology. 

He began his career on the Hilton Hotels European Finance Graduate Scheme, before later joining Jamie Oliver’s start-up stadia hospitality business, Fabulous Fan Fayre, as finance director. 

Armstrong has since assumed other strategic roles, notably as chief commercial officer at Conferma Pay, a Global Fintech where he had a fundamental role in developing the business before playing a key part in the sale of the company to Sabre in 2022. 

A spokesman for Ride Shotgun said: “A strategic thinker with international experience and a strong background in financial analysis and commercial development, Steve has proven effective in realising the ambitions of rapidly growing businesses.”

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North Yorkshire-based power station operator, Drax, has appointed Rob Shuter as a non-executive director and Audit Committee chair, effective from 11 June 2024.

He brings a wealth of complex financial, regulatory and strategic experience gained from over 30 years in the telecommunications and financial services sectors.

Shuter served on the BT Group plc executive committee as the divisional CEO of BT Enterprise between 2021 and January 2023, prior to which he served for three years as group president and CEO of MTN Group Ltd a telecommunications company listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

He also held a number of senior executive positions within the Vodafone Group between 2009 and 2016 including most recently as chief executive officer, European Cluster in addition to serving between 2009 and 2011 as chief financial officer of Vodacom Group Ltd, which was listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange and was a majority owned subsidiary of Vodafone Group.

Shuter worked in the financial services sector between 1992 and 2009 which included executive positions in retail banking at Nedbank Group Ltd and investment banking at Standard Bank Group Ltd.

More recently he served as non-executive director and chair of the Audit and Risk Committee for The GSM Association, the global trade association for mobile network operators worldwide.

Andrea Bertone, Drax chair, said: “Rob’s extensive executive experience in capital-intensive infrastructure, M&A, and business transformation across an international portfolio of companies including public listed companies in London and South Africa provide valuable knowledge and skills for his role as Audit Committee chair.”

Shuter added: “I am pleased to be joining Drax and serving as chair of the Audit Committee as the group continues to grow its international presence and implement its strategy for delivering renewable energy and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) globally.”

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