People: Connexin; Ceramique Internationale; Switalskis; and more

Hull-based smart technology and digital provider, Connexin, is bolstering its leadership team with the addition of Shameel Ahmed as chief financial officer.

He will play a key role in developing the company’s financial strategy and business plan working with the executive team and the company’s investors.

Prior to Connexin, Ahmed was at Community Fibre where he oversaw the network rollout of 1.3m homes across the South East of England and drove the company to profitability.

He also played a key role in the acquisition of Community Fibre by Warburg Pincus and Deutsche Telekom Capital Partners.

Furqan Alamgir, co-founder and CEO at Connexin, said: “We are happy to welcome Shameel as our new chief financial officer.

“Shameel has a significant track record of fundraising, having raised over £1.5bn across multiple debt and equity rounds as well as the execution and integration of successful M&A activity, his experience will turbocharge business growth.”

Ahmed said: “I’m thrilled to be taking on this new role of CFO at Connexin and excited to be part of such a fast growing, ambitious company with huge potential.”

A qualified Chartered Accountant (ICAEW) from PwC, Ahmed holds a Masters in Financial Strategy from Said Business School (University of Oxford) and an Executive MBA from London Business School.


Joe Haywood

Tile specialist Ceramique Internationale has made two key appointments to its senior sales team, including a new manager for the Tiles and Mosaics showroom in Leeds.

Joe Haywood, who joins the team as new showroom manager, has more than 10 years’ experience in the industry working as a manager for a number of high profile KBB retailers.

He will be responsible for the day-to-day running of the 4,500 sq ft showroom, providing advice and support to customers, as well as supporting the Ceramique sales team and working with customers on projects across the North of England.

Francesca Cornforth, who joined the business three years ago, has taken on a new and expanded role as specification sales manager – House Builder Division.

She will focus on developing Ceramique’s relationships with housebuilders and developers – an area which has seen significant growth in the years since the pandemic.

Francesca Cornforth

She has a wealth of experience in the tiling sector, having previously worked as a design and sales consultant for a number of prominent ceramic tile brands and, most recently, managing the Tiles and Mosaics showroom.

Cameron Fraser, director, said: “Housebuilding is always near the top of the news agenda and, with a new government on the horizon, we expect to see building rates ramp up, so Francesca has a crucial role in building and nurturing our profile with housebuilders and developers.

“She has really proved herself in recent years and we are confident her design background will be of great benefit when working on new housing developments and other commercial projects.

“And of course our showroom is the hub of the business, so Joe’s experience is already proving valuable as he talks to customers about their projects.”


Switalskis has appointed Magdalena Dootson as a paralegal in its Leeds-based criminal law department.  

With over a decade of experience as a court translator for Polish speakers, her appointment at Switalskis marks a significant career change.

Joining Switalskis’ seven-strong crime team as a paralegal, she aims to complete her legal training to become a qualified lawyer this year.

Dootson said: “I was an interpreter and translator for over 10 years. I worked on cases for the police, courts, CPS, DWP, prison and probation services, the Home Office, Counter Terrorism Unit and law firms.

“Many of these were complex, high-profile cases, which were often of a highly disturbing nature.

“This gave me insight into different aspects of law and inspired me to pursue a legal career.

“I’ve known Switalskis for many years, and when the position became available, I had to go for it. I’ve always been impressed with the firm and this role is a perfect fit for my career ambitions.

“Criminal law is an interesting area and one that’s extremely varied. I’m looking forward to working with Switalskis’ welcoming central Leeds-based team and learning from their wealth of experience.”

In addition to her practical experience, she has completed the Police Station Representative Accreditation Scheme and has achieved a Master of Laws (LLM). 

Michael Devlin, solicitor and head of Switalskis’ crime team, said: “We’re worked with Magdalena over the years so we knew she was very professional and was already accustomed to the aspects of work that can be challenging.

“Whether that’s unconventional working hours or dealing with people who are linked to the most disturbing criminal offences.

“It’s clear she has the ambition to progress strongly and quickly in her career to the benefit of our department and firm.

“We look forward to seeing the contributions she will make to our criminal law department.”


Chloe Hayles, broking manager at global professional services firm Aon, has been appointed chairperson of The Insurance Institute of Leeds Emerging Insurance Professional (EIP) Committee.

Hayles, 28, was elected to succeed former chairperson Isaac Pollitt following a majority vote from her fellow committee members.

The EIP provides tailored continuous professional development (CPD), networking and social events for its members who are all under 40 years of age.

Over the next year, Hayles will be responsible for ensuring the EIP continues to serve Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) Leeds members, by providing education, career development, networking opportunities, and social events.

She said: “It’s an honour to have been selected as chairperson of the Emerging Insurance Professionals in Leeds and I am determined to make a positive impact for young professionals within the financial industry.

“I have over 10 years’ experience within the insurance industry and the support offered by my colleagues and the continuous professional development provided by my employer, Aon, has ensured I have enjoyed a fulfilling career.

“I am keen to draw on my own experience and ensure our members are provided with the support and opportunity to network to further their careers too.”