Blog

The newest appointments and promotions within the South West enterprise neighborhood

Richard Bonner is the new chair of the West of England LEP

As Covid restrictions ease and businesses reopen fully, companies across the West of England are continuing to hire and promote staff.

A number of organisations across the region have made significant appointments in the past few weeks, in sectors including commercial property, tech, law and insurance.

South West law firm Wards Solicitors has appointed its first female managing partner in its 100-year history, while Glen Gardner, a highly experienced cruise industry consultant, has been tasked with supporting the growth of cruise visits to Plymouth.

But there are plenty of other movers and shakers too. Here, we take a look at the people who have changed jobs in recent weeks.

Want a chance to feature in our South West email newsletter? Send your senior appointments to hannah.baker@reachplc.com and sign up to business news from across the West Country here.

West of England LEP

Richard Bonner is the new chair of the West of England LEP

Richard Bonner has been appointed the new chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

He is taking over from professor Steve West, who has served as chair of the LEP since 2017.

The LEP board is part of the West of England Combined Authority (Weca) and is responsible for the region’s economic success.

Mr Bonner, a chartered engineer with a background in design and consultancy, joined the LEP board in 2019 and also served on the West of England Economic Recovery Taskforce.

He is UK chief operating officer and Bristol City executive at Arcadis, and outgoing president of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative.

Mr Bonner said: “I’m proud to have been selected as the new chair of the LEP. It’s an honour to take up the baton from Steve West, who has been a fantastic chair.

“Together with the rest of the LEP board and partners, I hope to carry forward the work he’s led in building upon our region’s brilliant reputation for innovation and excellence, to help the West of England not only recover from the pandemic but to grow even stronger.”

Savills

Melanie Fernandes has joined Savills Bristol as a director

Melanie Fernandes has joined Savills Bristol as a director

Savills has appointed Melanie Fernandes as an associate director to its specialist residential development sales team in Bristol.

Melanie has worked in the Bristol market for nearly 10 years, starting in lettings before moving into property management and then residential sales. She joins Savills from Ocean where she has worked for more than fove years, specialising in new homes sales.

“Savills is a hugely respected name in the Bristol market and its residential development sales team has a fantastic reputation,” she said.

“I am thrilled to become part of such a strong team of experts and look forward to supporting our clients on some exciting new schemes.”

George Cardale, who is head of Savills residential development sales for the UK and oversees its Bristol team, added: “[Melanie] brings a great blend of experience and enthusiasm to the role, and a high-quality of service to our clients.”

Made Tech

Made Tech has announced the appointment of Robin Wyles as the company’s new South West and Wales Market Principal

Made Tech has announced the appointment of Robin Wyles as the company’s new South West and Wales Market Principal

Public sector delivery company Made Tech has appointed Robin Wyles as its new South West and Wales market principal.

Mr Wyles, who is from Bath, will be responsible for the delivery of specialist technology services to Made Tech’s customers in the region, including the Driving and Vehicles Licencing Association (DVLA) and NHS Gloucestershire.

He takes on his new position as Made Tech is rapidly expanding its presence in the South West and Wales.

Mr Wyles previously worked as a principal technologist at Made Tech, leading on projects with HMRC and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

He has also worked at online print and design company MOO, where he oversaw the company’s technology expansion, scaling the tech workforce from 30 to over 100 people.

“I look forward to helping Made Tech further make an impact on the South West and Wales and to making a marked contribution to the public sector, the people and the economy in these regions,” he said.

Hinkley Professional Services Group (Hinkley PSG)

Zoe Stollard is a Construction Partner at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP

Zoe Stollard is a construction partner at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP

Zoe Stollard, a construction partner at law firm Clarke Willmott, has been appointed the chair of Hinkley Professional Services Group (Hinkley PSG).

She has replaced Graham Potts from Wessex Commercial Services who has led the group over the last couple of years.

The Hinkley PSG formed in 2017 and is a collection of businesses that have direct experience of advising businesses already involved in the Hinkley Point C project or relevant transferable experience.

Members have been selected from a range of professional service businesses including law firms, accountancy practices, finance companies, finance brokers, human resource, and project management specialists. A

They provide advice as businesses go through various stages of contracts including tender preparation, NEC3 and other contract negotiation, mobilisation, and contract delivery.

Ms Stollard said: “I would like to express sincere thanks to both Graham and Linda from Wessex Commercial Solutions for doing such a sterling job in leading and reinvigorating the Hinkley PSG over the last couple of years. I fully appreciate and respect their decision to stand down from the board, but I’m pleased Wessex will remain members.”

Helastel

Gareth Williams has joined Helastel as managing director for product

Gareth Williams has joined Helastel as managing director for product

Bristol-based software solutions company Helastel has appointed YellowDog founder Gareth Williams to its board as managing director for product.

After 17 years as a software solutions and consultancy business, Helastel has now moved into the product market with the launch of Intelastel – an autonomous software platform that turns clients’ data into business applications.

Mr Williams, who facilitated the creation of a new business unit for the Intelastel product business, joins the team permanently as full-time commercial and product lead.

He will also support chief executive and co-founder Iouri Prokhorov on the board, which is chaired by Nick Sturge MBE.

Mr Williams said: “I am very pleased to be joining Helastel at this important and pivotal time. The marketing opportunity in front of us with Intelastel is incredibly exciting and I’m very much looking forward to continuing to work with the team to achieve amazing results over the coming months and years.”

Mr Sturge added: “Gareth’s laser-sharp commercial focus, entrepreneurial drive and extensive product experience, gives us the additional horsepower we need to take this business to the next level. It’s going to be a great ride.”

National Friendly

Graham Singleton has been appointed chief executive of National Friendly

Graham Singleton has been appointed chief executive of National Friendly

Graham Singleton has been appointed as the new chief executive of Bristol-based health and protection insurance firm National Friendly.

Mr Singleton, a qualified actuary with more than 35 years’ experience, joined the company’s board as a non-executive director in December 2019.

He later stepped in as interim chief executive following the death of Jonathan Long in December 2020.

Mr Singleton started his career in life and pensions marketing, progressing to hold chief actuary and financial officer roles in various companies before becoming chief executive of the Phoenix Resolution Life Companies.

He was also chief executive of Swiss Re’s UK insurer, Reassure, together with its life and pensions outsourcing business, Admin Re.

He said: “National Friendly has a fantastic mutual heritage and I am very proud to have the opportunity to lead it at a time when the social need for the products and solutions which National Friendly specialise in has probably never been greater.

“We are and will continue to be innovative in our approach to meeting clear insurance needs, underpinned by excellent member service.”

Chair Geoff Brown added: “We are delighted to have appointed Graham to the permanent chief executive role – his knowledge of the society coupled with significant market knowledge and expertise mean that the society will continue its ambition to strongly grow its membership.”

IoD South West

Steve Hill has been appointed vice chair of the Institute of Directors South West region

Steve Hill has been appointed vice chair of the Institute of Directors South West region

Steve Hill has been appointed vice chair of the Institute of Directors South West region.

Mr Hill, who is a qualified chartered director based in Somerset, will support the transition to a new chair later in the year when Muir Macdonald steps down after his three-year term.

Mr Hill’s career includes stints at GEC Marconi in the 1980s and executive positions at aerospace firm Thales (then Racal) and Cohort group subsidiary SEA, including as managing director.

In late 2020, he stepped down from his role leading SEA to build a portfolio career supporting other businesses.

“The Institute has been such a big part of my professional development and therefore I am delighted to be stepping into a position in which I can support members in the region even further beyond my ambassador role,” said Mr Hill.

“It’s a key time for the economy as we continue to get back on our feet and good governance and leadership will be critical.”

Mr Macdonald said Mr Hill had “all the qualities” he could wish for.

He added: “With a fabulous group of ambassadors, the IoD’s team building gradually, and the Covid restrictions lifting, the future is looking even brighter here in the South West.”

ABL Business

Johanna Roberts is the new finance operations manager of ABL Business

Johanna Roberts is the new finance operations manager of ABL Business

Somerset-based funding specialist ABL Business has appointed Johanna Roberts as its new finance operations manager.

She has more than 30 years’ experience and has provided working capital for hundreds of organisations, according to ABL.

Before joining the business, Ms Roberts worked for a fintech firm, providing global strategic credit and risk advice.

Under her new remit, she will be responsible for driving forward ABL’s applications for commercial finance, closing specialised client deals and working on key accounts.

She said: “Now, more than ever, business owners don’t have time to get caught up in the minutiae of complex finance, so being able to work with a team which provides straight-talking, jargon-free advice is incredibly refreshing.”

Alex Beardsley, the joint managing director of ABL, added: “We have bold ambitions for ABL in 2021, but we can only achieve these if we surround ourselves with the very best, straight-talking talent.

“Boasting unrivalled credit and underwriting skills, Johanna’s appointment will enable us to structure higher-level transactions, MBOs, mergers and acquisitions – yet it’s her credentials, passion, and personality which will ultimately drive our national expansion forwards.”

C Hoare & Co

C. Hoare & Co. has appointed Emily Corbett as a senior relationship manager

C. Hoare & Co. has appointed Emily Corbett as a senior relationship manager

The UK’s oldest privately-owned bank has appointed Emily Corbett as a senior relationship manager to lead growth in the South West.

According to C Hoare & Co, the appointment forms part of a broader strategy to expand its presence and customer base in the UK’s regions.

Ms Corbett will be responsible for building the bank’s presence and developing business opportunities across the South West region, with an initial focus on Bristol and Bath. She will report to Peter Gale, who is banking team leader.

Ms Corbett has more than 25 years of banking and relationship management experience. Most recently, she was an individual banking manager at Handelsbanken, based in Bath, managing a portfolio of HNW individuals.

Before this, she held various roles at Barclays Bank including premier banking manager and branch manager positions. She is a registered regulated relationship manager.

Partner and director Venetia Hoare said: “Following our successful recent expansion into Cambridge, our first office outside of London in 350 years, we believe now is the right time to build out our UK footprint.

“The South West is a natural progression. Emily brings a wealth of expertise and established relationships in the region and I much look forward to working with her.”

Gallagher

Richard Horne has joined Gallagher as regional broking director

Richard Horne has joined Gallagher as regional broking director

Insurance brokerage, risk management and consulting firm Gallagher has appointed Richard Horne as regional broking director

He has succeeded Brian Walker, who has retired after 41 years at Gallagher.

Mr Horne will be based at Gallagher’s Bristol office and will report into Stephen Smith, who leads Gallagher’s broking and placement team in the South of England.

In his new role, Mr Horne will be responsible for assisting client-facing teams in Swindon, Gloucester, Bristol, Exeter and Torquay, providing technical insurance expertise and advice for clients with complex risk requirements, and supporting the offices with managing their insurer relationships.

He joins Gallagher from insurer RSA, where he was most recently broker account manager for the South West, and was previously area sales manager for the region at Aspen Insurance Services.

He said: “Having worked for insurers for a number of years, I am delighted to be moving to the broking side of the industry, and to be joining a broker which has a well-established presence in the South West and is embedded in the local communities it serves.”

Cushman & Wakefield

Alfie Passingham (left) and Steve Lane have joined Cushman & Wakefield

Alfie Passingham (left) and Steve Lane have joined Cushman & Wakefield

The commercial property firm has expanded its national offices team with a double appointment in its South West and South Wales regional hub in Bristol.

The firm has appointed Steve Lane to lead its Bristol Offices team. Mr Lane will join as a Partner from JLL where he has spent more than 10 years specialising in tenant representation and disposal work across the South West.

He is a member of the Bristol Property Agents Association and the South West & Wales Office Agency Society.

Alfie Passingham is also joining as an associate this month. He joins from commercial property firm Colliers where he provided strategic agency advice on the city centre and out-of-town office markets in Bristol for the past seven years.

Cushman & Wakefield is engaged on numerous landmark office instructions in Bristol including CEG’s next generation workspaces EQ and 1000 Aztec West, as well as Brabazon, the new urban community being developed in north Bristol by YTL Developments.

Tim Davis, managing partner, South West & South Wales at Cushman & Wakefield, said: “It is always exciting to welcome to the firm talented advisors who can add value to our clients.

“Steve is a highly respected agent in the South West property market who we know extremely well from working alongside on significant joint instructions while Alfie’s experience working with significant investor clients on complex projects also enhances the team. We are really pleased we’ve been able to bring them both on board.”

Pure Comms

Left to Right: Richard Corser, finance director; Julian Telling, non-executive chairman; Rob Vivian, CEO and founder; and Georgina Callaghan, operations director

Left to Right: Richard Corser, finance director; Julian Telling, non-executive chairman; Rob Vivian, CEO and founder; and Georgina Callaghan, operations director

Georgina Callaghan has become operations director at telecoms provider Pure Comms.

She joins the current board, which consists of chief executive Rob Vivian, non-executive director Richard Corser and non-executive chairman Julian Telling.

The appointment follows a record year for Pure Comms, based just outside Bristol, with the company hitting the £3m turnover mark.

“The last 12 months has really pushed the business into the ascendancy and since coming on board as a business development manager, Georgina has been a vital member of the team,” said Mr Corser. “I am delighted to welcome her on to the board.”

Pure Comms has made a number of recent appointments, with Caitlin Staddon joining as marketing executive, Melissa Poole joining as operations executive, and Kayleigh Gresty has joined as an account manager.

“As a telecoms provider that specialises in building bespoke packages around our client and their needs, our Pure Home Working solution has proved vital for our clients to help them have a smooth transition from the office to remote working,” added Mr Corser.

“It’s testament to the hard work the team have put in over the last 12 months that we have been able to invest and grow at a time when many businesses were having to cut back.”

GWP

GWP's new structural packaging designer Clirenda Deedie

GWP’s new structural packaging designer Clirenda Deedie

Corrugated packaging manufacturer GWP has bolstered its growing team following the recruitment of a structural designer.

Clirenda Deedie joins design manager Mike Poynter and senior designer Steve Mann at the company’s Wiltshire-based design studio.

David Mason, sales director at GWP Packaging, said: “We have seen exceptional growth over the last 18 months, and the success of our design service has been integral to this.

“As Clirenda has the perfect skill set and experience within the packaging industry, we believe she will be a key asset to both the design team and wider business moving forward.”

Having been in her previous packaging design role for almost 20 years, Ms Deedie said she was “looking forward to a new challenge”.

“Having worked in the packaging industry for some time, I was aware of the reputation that GWP have for their innovative approach to design,” she added.

“From speaking with the team, I was very impressed with both their existing approach and future plans. I am very much looking forward to the new challenge, as well bringing my ideas and experience to what is already a fantastic setup.”

Old Mill

Len Dean has joined Old Mill as senior VAT adviser

Len Dean has joined Old Mill as senior VAT adviser

South West financial firm Old Mill has appointed Len Dean as senior VAT adviser.

The 43-year-old, who led the indirect tax practice at PwC Scotland for six years, has relocated from Stirlingshire to Somerton, in Somerset, with his wife Amy and four children, to join the West Country firm.

He will help grow Old Mill’s tax practice by expanding the VAT team’s capabilities and client offering with the aim of it becoming a leading independent tax practice in the region.

Mr Dean started his tax career in 2003 and trained as a VAT inspector with HM Customs & Excise, shortly before it became HMRC, carrying out VAT inspections across much of the North Somerset, Bristol and Bath area.

In 2005, he joined PwC as part of the Wales & West VAT team based in the firm’s Bristol office, and worked his way up to senior VAT manager. In 2014, he was asked to lead the firm’s Scottish VAT team, and a year later he was promoted to director.

He said: “I was looking to relocate back home to the South West and I wanted a change of scene from the Big Four, so was keen to join a smaller business that was more in tune with the regional market.

Like this story? Why not sign up to get South West business news straight to your inbox.