People: New head for BHP Consulting; Further four apprentices join Clarion; and more

MARK ROBERTS has been appointed to head up BHP Consulting’s team of corporate advisors who specialise in delivering business growth across all industries.

BHP Consulting employs a team of six consultants who all have a wealth of experience leading and growing a range of businesses.  The firm is a division of BHP Chartered Accountants which has offices in Leeds, Cleckheaton, Sheffield, Chesterfield and York.

Mr Roberts joined BHP Consulting in 2015.  He has  experience in working with SME’s as a strategic advisor, helping them to understand their market opportunities, fulfil their growth aspirations and develop their management teams. Prior to this, he was managing director at automotive parts and equipment distributor Andrew Page.

His new role follows the announcement that BHP Consulting’s David Mitchell is leaving the firm at the end of the year to move into industry and become chief executive of a newly formed investment management vehicle, managing several trading business across the UK.

Mr Roberts said: “David’s vision of building a team of experienced business leaders who provide real value to their clients in overcoming the commercial barriers to growth has given BHP Consulting a real point of differentiation in the Advisory market and we all wish him every success as moves from practice into industry.  The BHP Consulting team is talented and knowledgeable. We all have broad experience when it comes to building successful businesses and have done so across a wide variety of industries. We all share a passion in wanting to see our clients become more successful and a vision in how we go about supporting them on their journey.  To lead this team is both a privilege and a very exciting opportunity, and I’m looking forward to the challenges ahead.”

John Warner, BHP’s managing partner, added: “Mark has an exceptional track record of growing successful companies. He always has an immediate impact when he sees a client for the first time and is particularly effective when it comes to multi-site operations and diversifying into new markets. He is very well-respected amongst our team and our clients, and there’s no doubt that BHP Consulting will thrive with him at the helm. 

“Everyone at BHP would like to wish David the very best for the future.”


Clarion apprentices Isher Sidhu, Ethan Bradley, Lucy Robinson and Hannah SteadSINCE launching its apprenticeship programme three years ago, Leeds law firm Clarion has taken on a total of eight apprentices, including a further four this year.

Isher Sidhu and Lucy Robinson are both undertaking Business Administration Level 2 and working in Clarion’s risk and regulatory team. 

Ethan Bradley and Hannah Stead are studying the CILEx advanced apprenticeship in legal services and working in the firm’s law costs team.

Clarion has joined forces with training provider Damar in Stockport to deliver the apprenticeships which last between 18 months and two years.  As well as assisting with the selection of suitable candidates, Damar will provide training and one-to-one tuition and support for the apprentices onsite at Clarion’s Leeds offices.

“As a firm, we are committed to nurturing talent, from bright, enthusiastic young people who have never worked in an office environment before, through to aspiring lawyers who want to progress their careers with us,” says Roger Hutton, joint managing partner at Clarion.

“The face of training and recruitment is changing and we’re adapting by offering a host of different pathways which enable those with potential, whatever their experience, to join the firm and grow with us to ensure we can offer clients the most skilled team.”


ENGAGE, the card and payments programme developed for the credit union movement, has appointed Gill Hillier as partner development manager covering the North of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Ms Hillier will be working with new and existing Engage credit union partners to drive better awareness of the work they do within their communities and to assist them in their ongoing efforts to end financial exclusion.

Geoff Leech, managing director of Skipton headquartered Engage, said: “Gill is a fantastic addition to the Engage programme. Her background in banking and financial services will be a great asset to both the Engage team and our credit union partners who are looking to drive new membership and deliver ethical financial services to all.”


AIM-LISTED healthcare business Avacta has hired Professor Gerard Evan to its therapeutics scientific advisory board.

Professor Evan brings world-leading expertise in immuno-oncology and cancer stem cell research to support the group’s development of oncology biotherapeutics based on its proprietary Affimer technology, an engineered alternative to antibodies.

Professor Evan’s research focuses on the molecular basis of cancer. He was formerly Gerson and Barbara Bass Baker Distinguished Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of California San Francisco and co-leader of the Cell Cycling and Signaling Program at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center. In 2009 he was elected to the Sir William Dunn Chair of Biochemistry and head of biochemistry in the University of Cambridge.

Professor Evan has a BA in Biochemistry from the University of Oxford and a PhD in Molecular Immunology from the University of Cambridge. He was awarded the Pfizer prize in Biology in 1995, and in 1996 was elected as the Royal Society’s Napier Professor of Cancer Research.

Alastair Smith, Avacta chief executive, said: “We are delighted that Professor Evan has joined Avacta’s therapeutics Scientific Advisory Board. His deep knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of cancer will be a great asset to the Company and in particular his pioneering work in the area of cancer stem cell biology could help create novel and highly valuable Affimer therapies in this emerging area.
“Gerard is joining us at an exciting time. We recently announced the important milestone of achieving positive results from the first animal safety and efficacy studies with our lead immuno-oncology candidate, a PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor. This success, and the continued good progress across all other programmes in the past year, has served to further strengthen our belief that the Affimer technology has huge potential as a therapeutic platform and in other non-therapeutic applications. We continue to focus on developing both our internal and partnered therapeutic programs towards clinical validation and on commercialising Affimer reagents in multiple markets.”