Movers and Shakers

HOWARD Robinson, who spent more than 10 years with Colchester-based PR and marketing agency Quay West Communications between 1990 and 2001, has rejoined the agency as a director, to lead agency development.

Howard, who will work alongside executive director Nicola White on her return from maternity leave, has had spells as a director with London agencies working for clients including Royal Mail, Securicor and the Football Foundation since leaving Quay West. He will provide strategic client counsel as well as developing the agency’s offering.

“Much of my time over the past few years in particular has been spent reviewing different agency models and seeing how social media can be dovetailed with conventional PR and media activity to deliver an offering that is focused on clients’ specific business objectives to deliver a tangible return on investment,” he said.

“It’s great to be back at Quay West and to be able to work with the team to roll out new marketing communications initiatives for our existing and future clients.”

n SUFFOLK Coastal District Council has been awarded highly commended in the Most Improved Services category at the 2011 Land Data Local Land Charges Industry Awards.

The Land Data awards celebrate the work and achievements of local land charges teams around the country and give recognition to those local authorities who are playing a key role in modernising and shaping the future of the industry.

The Most Improved Services category spotlights the local land charges department that has made the most improvements in order to create a better service and product offering for their customers.

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The judging of this award is based on the highest increase in the percentage of electronic NLIS searches versus other search types, whether an electronic search price is offered to customers and if the local authority had upgraded its NLIS connection level.

Stoke-on-Trent City Council won the award with Suffolk Coastal District Council a close second, earning the council ‘Highly Commended’ status.

“This commendation is rich reward for the efforts of our land charges team who have helped lead the way in introducing innovations to the way they offer an improved service to their customers,” said Robert Whiting, Suffolk Coastal’s cabinet member of resources.

“Suffolk Coastal has been committed to delivering efficient relevant services that are adapted to the needs of all our customers and our land charges have been pioneers so it is excellent to see them getting their just recognition on a national stage.”

n BUSINESSMAN, academic and government adviser Lord Currie of Marylebone, has been appointed chairman of the Council of the University of Essex.

David Currie, who has served on council, the university’s governing body since, August 2009, will take up the chairmanship from August 1, 2011. He will replace Bill Gore, who is standing down after serving as chairman since January 2008.

Council, which has 25 members, is responsible for the university’s budget, its strategic planning and its capital investments, as well as staffing and health and safety issues. It meets four times a year, and has a number of committees covering areas such as finance and strategy and audit and risk management.

The founding chairman of Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, a position he held for seven years, Lord Currie is currently chairman of the International Centre for Financial Regulation and chairman of Semperian PPP Investment Partners. He is a board member of the Dubai Financial Services Authority and his other board memberships include the London Philharmonic Orchestra. He sits on the cross benches in the House of Lords.

Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Riordan said: “David Currie brings a wealth of business and academic experience to the university, and I look forward to working closely with him as we face up to the challenges ahead.

“I would like to thank Bill Gore for the sound advice and judgement he has brought to the role over the past three years, during which the university has continued to expand and gone from strength to strength.”

n PROFESSIONAL services firm KPMG has appointed Simon Hammerschmidt to head its performance and technology practice in East Anglia.

The appointment will see Simon lead a team of consultants across KPMG’s Cambridge and Ipswich offices, advising clients from across the Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridge and Essex regions on complex business issues including cost optimisation, financial management and improving technology systems.

He joined the firm from Deloitte, where he spent six years as group sales director of its consulting alliances practice. Prior to this, Simon worked for a range of blue chip organisations within commercial and operational roles for eight years, following over a decade spent serving as a pilot in the armed forces.

Commenting on his new challenge, Simon said: “These are interesting times for businesses, with the short-term outlook for the economy remaining uncertain, but growth starting to appear on the agendas of many management teams.

“As a result, companies across the region are increasingly turning to us for help and advice to manage the issues they face and, in this environment, we expect demand for our services will only increase further.”

Steve Muncey, senior partner of KPMG’s East Anglia practice said: “Simon brings a wealth of skills and experience to his new role.

“The combination of his leadership and the recruitment programme we currently have under way to increase the team in response to client demand means our Performance & Technology practice is set to go from strength to strength.”