Bank appoints regional food and farming chair

Clydesdale Bank has appointed Bill Mustoe as chairman for the food and agricultural sector in the East of England.

Mr Mustoe has extensive experience in the food industry involving ambient, fresh and frozen foods and currently runs businesses across the UK. He was deputy president of the Food and Drink Federation, as well as food and drink chairman for the Qualifications Curriculum Authority.

He said: “Having been connected with Clydesdale Bank for over three years, I know how highly it values its food and agricultural business. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with the regional team to continue driving momentum in this important area.”

Mr Mustoe also maintains his regional chairman role in York, covering commercial activities for Yorkshire Bank across North Yorkshire. He previously worked for Campbell Soup Company for 11 years in various senior positions.

SPECIALIST business financier Aldermore Invoice Finance, part of the new British bank Aldermore, has appointed Andy Phillips as a regional sales manager to develop the firm’s presence in Ipswich and the wider East of England region.

Mr Phillips, who has more than 15 years of experience in the industry, joins Aldermore after six months as national head of sales at Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance. Earlier in his career, he was corporate banking manager at Lloyds TSB in Cambridge as well as in the Barclays and Bank of Scotland sales financing teams for East Anglia.

In his new role, he will support businesses in Ipswich and across East Anglia with alternative funding lines in order to improve cash flow and enable growth.

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As traditional bank lending to small businesses has fallen over the past year, small to medium-sized businessses are turning to invoice finance in order to preserve cash flow and prepare themselves well in advance of any further downturn in the economy.

Mr Phillips said: “With an entrepreneurial culture and a pool of highly-skilled labour that is the envy of other regions, East Anglia has fared well since the start of the economic downturn. However, with fears mounting over a double dip recession and bank lending criteria still tight, I will be working closely with businesses in the East of England to ensure that their cash flow remains strong and that they receive the necessary funding to grow.”

Ian Clark, regional managing director at Aldermore Invoice Finance, said: “Andy is an experienced business financier and has an impressive network of contacts in East Anglia. Andy’s appointment represents our growing ambition within the wider Aldermore Bank to expand our sales team and help support businesses throughout the East of England with vital funding lines.”

THE man who helped build Alan Boswell’s Landlords’ insurance division is moving on after over 40 years in the insurance business, almost half of it spent with the Suffolk and Norfolk-based Alan Boswell Group.

Robert Graver was one of the first in the country to set up an insurance scheme specifically designed for landlords. Over the years he built it into one of the most successful specialist divisions in the UK. Now the Alan Boswell Group, which has a base in Bury St Edmunds, offers insurance for all types of property risk, providing independent advice to landlords, property owners and letting agents.

As landlords’ director, Mr Graver worked closely with landlord associations and developed a real passion for property. Now he will be taking over the management of his UK-based property portfolio and will be assuming a more active role in looking after his overseas properties.

“I am very interested in property and during recent years have been able to combine that interest with my insurance knowledge,” said Mr Graver.

The Alan Boswell Group employs 170 staff and also has offices in Attleborough and Norwich. “We have built our business by developing expertise in many different areas, from general insurance to financial services and healthcare, with clients ranging from private individuals to nationwide businesses,” said managing director Alan Boswell, who set up the business nearly 30 years ago.

“Robert led the way with landlords’ insurance and developed what is now a substantial part of our business. He built up a strong team of specialist brokers. We will all miss him and wish Robert all the best in his new venture in the future,” he said.

FORMER bank manager Jackie Reeve is helping Suffolk small businesses beat cash-flow problems, with a little help from the US.

She’s become one of the first three UK area developers for a business established in North America almost 40 years ago to keep the wheels of entrepreneurial industry turning across the Atlantic.

London-born Ms Reeve, who is based near Bury St Edmunds, worked her way up from a junior clerk to become a bank manager at NatWest.

After 26 years in the banking industry, she decided to try something new and went to work at a London college, helping entrepreneurs studying at the college get their foot on the ladder.

She realised she could use her skills to help even more entrepreneurs and SME owners, and signed up with the Interface Financial Group (IFG).

As an area developer, she works on a franchise basis, and as well as providing cash up-front for small businesses she is recruiting a team of franchisees to work in her own area covering Suffolk.

“More than ever small businesses need quick access to cash, particularly in the current climate. But many firms find it hard to get the help they need from banks and financial institutions,” she said.

“Money Factoring businesses have been seen as a way around cash flow issues, but these usually involve signing contracts which tie customers for a specified period.

“The system IFG uses enables customers to use our service only as they need it – no contracts, no long-term commitments in what is a fast and flexible service. The big advantage for customers is they know exactly from the very start precisely what they will pay, no hidden extras or small-print clauses. It is a very simple formula that our customers can use as a one-off when they need quick access to some funding, or as use-as-you-go service.”

She added: “I like the ethics of IFG, as well as the returns I earn as a franchise holder. And for me the added beauty is I can work from a home office near Bury St Edmunds. My many years at NatWest were terrific experience for the job I do now and it is great to be able to offer help to small businesses.”

PURE Resourcing Solutions has appointed Becky Wilson to its HR recruitment team. With over 10 years’ experience in HR recruitment in the Norfolk and Suffolk area, Ms Wilson will bring expertise and experience to an already highly established division.

She will play an important role in the newly designed regional HR team – working alongside highly experienced consultant Abby Dillon, the two will work to service clients throughout Suffolk and Norfolk with their HR recruitment needs. Caroline Batchelor heads up the division, having launched HR recruitment in the Cambridge area over six years ago.

A graduate in Business Economics, she started her career placing accountancy professionals and has specialised in the HR sector for the last five years. Awarded Best Recruitment Consultant at the Archant Recruitment Awards in 2008, she prides herself in building strong relationships with her clients and candidates and has established an excellent network of contacts in the Norfolk and Suffolk area.

“I was first attracted to Pure by their great reputation across the region,” she said.

“I like the more creative and consultative approach, where quality really matters. I have a strong belief in being honest and open with my clients and candidates and I know that as a company Pure shares this philosophy - I am really excited to be part of this successful team.”

Ms Batchelor said: “We are delighted to have Becky on board; she brings a wealth of understanding and expertise within the HR market in Norfolk. Her drive, experience and enthusiasm have already made her a valued member of the team.”

THE new executive chairman of East of England energy group EEEGR has called on public and private sectors to unite in a bid to reap more of the regions extensive energy riches now and over the next 20 years.

Alan Barlow said he wanted to see the association lead the way by selling the region as “a world- leading energy hub with one compelling voice of all involved”.

“The region has the UKs most diverse energy base. It is secure, sustainable, affordable and low carbon and will grow tremendously. Moreover, the region is internationally competitive, when compared to other energy-based regions in the UK,” he said.

“We have hi-tech engineering, such as Lotus and the Hethel Engineering Centre, three world leading centres of academic excellence in Cambridge, Cranfield and the UEA, a vibrantly strong business environment, excellent quality of living and proximity to London.”

Mr Barlow has been brought in to accelerate and focus the strategy for EEEGR, the industry’s private sector member body and catalyst for the energy sector in the region. The group and its 340 members already represented a success story and founder and chief executive John Best remained the main man in its operation.

“John Best is the driving force but he and the board wanted EEEGR to take the next step in development and brought me in to help achieve that,” said Mr Barlow. “We want to ensure that the region gets more than its fair share of the growth so that our members benefit.

“For that to happen, he said, it was vital for local authorities and other bodies in the region to stand side-by-side and collaborate with the private sector through EEEGR members and the rest of the local supply chain to grab the golden opportunities now presented.”

Given that Government would be cutting back further in the public sector and leaving the private sector to do more, the opportunity and challenge for EEEGR is expanding considerably, he said.

Mr Barlow brings to EEEGR 25 years of international business experience, 15 of them in energy-related fields.

He was previously chief executive officer of a world leading engineering business in the highly demanding downstream oil and gas and emissions reduction sector. With 650 staff and offices in 18 countries, it traded over 90% of its business outside the UK and in six years he took turnover from 30m to 100m.

Before that, he was corporate development director with Eastern Electricity/TXU in the region and, earlier, a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers where he advised corporations on their international development and was responsible for its Asia Pacific offices.

“I was fortunately in a position to stop full-time work but still require a stimulating challenge. The energy sector in the East of England and EEEGRs growing pivotal role in accelerating its development will undoubtedly provide a relishing challenge and an opportunity for me to give something back to the industry,” he said.

Mr Barlow and wife Lindsey live at Haslemere, Surrey, and have two adult children. Away from work he enjoys international travel, painting and keeping fit. He is a director and trustee of the charity Saferworld, which reduces conflict and improves local security in world troublespots.