L-R: Lisa Lodge, Lesley Nichols, Alice Cowell, Alison Kidd and Rebecca Perkes
Richard Bell

This week’s North West appointments

Lisa Lodge, Vincents Solicitors

Vincents Solicitors has appointed Lisa Lodge as the new head of its office in Garstang, Lancashire.

In her new role, solicitor Lisa will lead the law firm’s team in offering advice on wills, lasting powers of attorney and probate matters.

Lisa said: “It’s always worth reviewing a will as the law and taxation rules change all the time, so it’s important to ensure your legal affairs are up-to-date.

“There’s also a huge growth in people appointing lasting power of attorney, ensuring they have an expert on hand to help them and their loved ones if they become unwell and unable to manage their affairs.”

She continued: “Dealing with this now can help avoid a lot of time, confusion and cost further down the line.”

At Vincents Lisa, who has 20 years’ experience as a solicitor, will provide additional support to businesses in the area by creating a new networking group and offering advice through free seminars.

Speaking further, she said: “We want to provide opportunities for the area’s many rural businesses to come together, along with the town’s independent traders and established family firms.

“We know people are busy, so the events will be designed to help with both personal and commercial issues, and hopefully they’ll get chance to make useful connections as well.”

Lisa added: “It’s building strong relationships which really matters to us.”

Originally established in Garstang 15 years ago, Vincents’ HQ is now in Winckley Square, Preston. The firm operates seven offices across Lancashire.

Vincents’ managing partner, Phillip Gilmore, said: “Vincents is a traditional law firm with a modern approach to customer service and a deep commitment to the communities it serves.

“The familiar, high street solicitor is a hugely important part of any community, giving people access to good lawyers who have the expertise to help them with whatever issues come their way.”

He added: “Lisa has an excellent track record and is extremely enthusiastic about continuing the great work that has been done by the Vincent’s team in the town for the last 15 years.”

Pictured L-R: Adam McGowan, Mike Buxton, Rob Hall and Paul Richards

Mike Buxton, Adam McGowan and Paul Richards, Mitchell Charlesworth

Mitchell Charlesworth has announced three new promotions within its advisory and audit teams.

Mike Buxton and Adam McGowan, who are based at the North West accountancy firm’s Liverpool office, have been made partners, while Paul Richards at the Warrington office is now an associate.

Adam has been with Mitchell Charlesworth since 1998, qualifying in 2005 as a chartered accountant. His time at the firm has seen him progress through the accounts and audit department, in addition to building experience in corporate finance, forensic services and helping SMEs in various sectors.

An audit manager for the last five years, Mike Buxton started out as a trainee at Mitchell Charlesworth in 1999, qualifying six years later. Mike’s responsibility is to lead the company’s professional service offer in compliance and advisory matters.

Adam and Mike became associates in 2013 and, following Mitchell Charlesworth’s merger with Kemp and Co accountants in July this year, both have been closely involved in integrating the two companies and their client bases.

Paul Richards, meanwhile, was hired as an audit junior in 2002 at Mitchell Charlesworth’s Widnes office, moving to the firm’s Manchester base in 2006, where he qualified before taking on the role of audit manager at the Warrington office.

Mitchell Charlesworth chairman Rob Hall said: “We are delighted to be making these key promotions which are well deserved due to their client service and hard work over the years. We want our people to build a career with us and these promotions are testimony to the firm’s approach of developing talent from within.

“Mitchell Charlesworth is a leading independent accountant in the North West with a range of services to support SMEs and businesses in our chosen sectors.”

He continued: “To ensure we service our clients effectively, we need to have a team who have the expertise, experience and the authority to make decisions and react quickly to our client’s needs.

“Mike, Adam and Paul will now be given more responsibility and time to complete business development activities and ensure we reach our growth targets and service more and more SMEs, housing associations and legal practices across the North West region.”

Fran Stott (top) and Louise McGuckin, Story Homes

Story Homes, the residential property developer with schemes across the North and Scotland, has announced the promotion of two heads of department.

Former head of sales Louise McGuckin has been promoted to sales director. Louise has gained industry experience and played a key role in several of Story Homes’ initiatives since joining the firm, including the rollout of the Government’s Help to Buy scheme.

Fran Stott, meanwhile, is now Story Homes’ HR director. The company formed it own dedicated HR team after the business legally separated from sister firm Story Contracting. Fran joined the company in 2014 as head of HR, following roles at companies such as telecoms giant Vodafone, food and beverage firm Nestle and electricity supplier npower.

Steve Errington, Story Homes’ chief executive, said: “Story Homes is committed to continued growth through the construction of high-quality homes – growth that wouldn’t be possible without the strategic direction of a talented senior team.

“Both Louise and Fran have consistently demonstrated their capabilities in their respective departments. I’ve no doubt that their expertise will be as valuable in our senior team as it has been effective in the successful running of their teams.”

Sandy Lindsay, North West Business Leadership Team

The founder and chair of Manchester-based communications agency Tangerine, Sandy Lindsay MBE, has been announced as the newest member of the North West Business Leadership Team (NWBLT).

The group, which comprises business leaders from across the region, works to promote the sustainable development and long-term wellbeing of the North West’s economy by providing strategic support and influencing policy.

The NWBLT’s CEO, Geoffrey Piper, said: “I’ve known Sandy and Tangerine since the company’s launch back in 2002 and have always admired the way she runs her business and plays a part in the wider regional dialogue.

“Sandy’s recent success with The Juice Academy apprenticeship and her leadership of the Institute of Directors’ Skills Group fit perfectly with one of our key issues of major concern for the North West, namely the massive skills gaps that need addressing if we’re to maximise on the huge opportunities we have as a region.”

Sandy is the only member of the group from the creative industries.

Commenting on the appointment, Sandy said: “The North West Business Leadership Team makes a very real impact on the success of our region and, with Devo Manc and the Northern Powerhouse on the horizon, there’s never been a more important time to get policy right by ensuring the voice of business is heard.

“I’m looking forward to being part of the Leadership Team and will work hard to ensure I add value.”

Jo Handler, Hugh Joseph Solicitors

Hugh Joseph Solicitors, a law firm based in Heaton Moor, has appointed Jo Handler as its new head of employment.

The role will see Jo helping the team to broaden its employment services for the increasing number of small companies in the area.

Jo, who has more than 10 years’ experience advising both individuals and businesses on all aspects of employment law, said: “I’m very excited to be making the move over to Hugh Joseph to join a small but passionate team dedicated to providing the very best in employment legal services to those in and around the Heatons.”

Jo previously worked with corporate law firm Eversheds as an associate.

Hugh Joseph Solicitors was acquired in October 2015 by Manchester-based Almond Solicitors. The firm’s director, Greg Almond, said: “Jo’s appointment is a great boost for our rapidly growing team. Collectively, we’ve been providing a range of employment law solutions for 22 years and Jo’s experience will help to cement us as the number one solicitor for local businesses.”

Vaqas Farooq, Shoosmiths

The Manchester office of national law firm Shoosmiths has chosen a new head of real estate.

Vaqas Farooq’s appointment will see him replace the former head of office, Harold Brako, to take on overall leadership of Shoosmiths’ operations in the city.

Vaqas first joined Shoosmiths in 2005 and became a partner at the firm in 2007.

Discussing the work of his predecessor, Vaqas said: “Harold switched the Manchester lights on six years ago and has since overseen and helped build a successful office of which we are all very proud.”

Harold said the decision to “hand over the baton” felt right, as Shoosmiths is embarking upon “another phase of success and growth”.

He continued: “I’m looking forward to devoting more time to client work while continuing to support Vaq and his new deputies in our growth ambitions.”

With a national network of 10 offices, Shoosmiths currently employs around 160 people.

The company’s chief executive, Claire Rowe, said: “A huge amount of our success in Manchester is down to the invaluable contribution of Harold and I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank him for his work.

“We are delighted that Vaq has accepted the challenge of following in his footsteps as we enter a new and exciting phase of growth.”

Elsewhere, Shoosmiths has also appointed two new deputy heads of office, partners Liz Sweeney and Kath Livingston.

Paul Rigby, Forrest

Bolton-headquartered contractor Forrest has hired a new head of people.

Paul Rigby, who has been with Forrest since 2011, will assume responsibility for the firm’s HR, learning, development and recruitment functions in his new role.

Further, he will head Forrest’s people team, which will train the company’s staff in key growth sectors to bolster client services and personal progression.

In his previous role as Forrest’s learning and development manager, the firm said Paul has played a key role in rethinking and delivering its person-led initiatives, including apprenticeships and the Forrest Futures programme set up to develop senior talent.

Forrest CEO Lee McCarren said: “This is a time of significant growth for us, in what is our 60th year of trading.

“We’re expanding in new regions and sectors, having secured recent work wins in London, Yorkshire and the North East.”

He continued: “Paul has the knowledge and expertise to ensure we are able to meet increased demand by attracting the right people.

“What’s more, he understands how invaluable nurturing and keeping talent is to bridge the skills gap within the industry.”

Emma Procter and Martin Kent, YOPA

Property agent YOPA has strengthened its North West presence with two new appointments.

The firm hired Emma Procter to lead its push into Preston and Martin Kent to drive growth in Crewe.

Martin Kent has over 10 years of experience in the property sector.

Now, YOPA is aiming to recruit up to 20 additional property experts in the North West.

Mark Sillitoe, Williams Commercial

Cheshire property company Williams Commercial is changing its name to Williams Sillitoe Commercial with the appointment of industrial agent Mark Sillitoe, its new co-director.

Mark has joined the Wilmslow-based business from professional services firm JLL (formerly King Sturge) where he worked for 13 years.

He said of his appointment: “This is an exciting opportunity to come in and add to what is already a very successful independent agency.

“Williams Commercial is seen as an active player in the market, which is on the ground and able to get deals done.”

Mark continued: “My aim now is to replicate this on the industrial side and position Williams Sillitoe Commercial at the front of landlords, developers’ and occupiers’ minds when they are looking to appoint a regional agent.”

Established in 2010, Williams Sillitoe Commercial provides services such as property development, investment, acquisitions, disposals and lettings.

The firm’s founder, Charlie Williams, said: “The business has been growing at a steady pace, thanks to the volume and quality of instructions we have secured and the deals we have successfully converted.

“Mark’s appointment will act as a springboard to help us to further develop our industrial and logistics offer.”

He added: “Mark is a popular and highly regarded agent in the North West and brings with him a wealth of knowledge and experience to support and grow our client base.”

Pictured L-R: Dale Parkinson, Harry Egan, Helen Cutler and Ian Hughes

Dale Parkinson, Helen Cutler and Harry Egan, Lloyds Bank

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has made three appointments to shore up its support for SMEs in Bolton and Wigan.

The bank’s three new relationship managers, Dale Parkinson, Helen Cutler and Harry Egan, will provide funding and support for businesses with turnovers of up to £25m.

Dale, who previously worked with Lloyds’ retail banking division, will help clients with turnovers ranging from £1m to £2.5m. Helen, meanwhile, has joined Lloyds from finance firm Lombard and will work with clients in the £2.5m to £10m turnover bracket.

Elsewhere, Harry has been hired from Santander and will be responsible for clients with a turnover between £10m and £25m.

Following their appointment, the three with work under Lloyds Bank’s senior manager of SME banking in Bolton and Wigan, Ian Hughes.

Ian commented: “It is great to be able to bolster our local team with a trio of dynamic new relationship managers, who will work to support SMEs in the region with specialist advice and financial services.

“They already have a strong understanding of the challenges and opportunities SMEs face, along with an in-depth knowledge of the products and services that are available to help them achieve their growth ambitions.”

He continued: “These appointments reinforce Lloyds’ appetite to Help Britain Prosper as part of our pledge to grow SME lending by at least £1 billion net every year until the end of 2017.

“In the 12 months to September 2015 we provided £1.5bn in net lending to SMEs – an increase of five per cent year on year at a time when growth across the industry was flat.”

Andrew Murdoch, Together

Lender Together has appointed Andrew Murdoch as its new group valuations manager.

Andrew’s work in the role will see him overseeing Together’s panel of valuers and working with individual members of the panel to assess lending decisions and mitigate risk.

Andrew said: “Our success at Together is built on the decisions of valuers.

“As we grow, so will our panel and I’m very much looking forward to strengthening existing relationships and developing new ones at this exciting time of fast-paced progression for the business.”

Previously, Andrew worked as an associate director in the valuations team of chartered surveyors Eddisons, including eight years specialising in LPA receiverships, corporate recovery and insolvency.

Together director Ritchie Watson commented: “Andrew has outstanding credentials and is a great addition to the team as we continue our path to further growth.”

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