Movers and Shakers: Former Prettys trio Tim Bacon, Ross Wiltshire and Jon Bloor join Ellisons

From left, Tim Bacon, Jon Bloor and Ross Wiltshire, who have joined Ellisons Solicitors

From left, Tim Bacon, Jon Bloor and Ross Wiltshire, who have joined Ellisons Solicitors - Credit: Archant

Essex and Suffolk law firm, Ellisons Solicitors has added to its commercial property and corporate commercial teams with the hires of three new Legal 500-recommended partners.

Tim Bacon, Ross Wiltshire and Jon Bloor, all previously of Prettys solicitors, have joined the 17 existing partners at Ellisons, which has offices in Ipswich and Colchester.

Tim Bacon joins the commercial property department, with a particular focus upon development work and large scale strategic sites for residential and commercial development.

Ross Wiltshire is a commercial property solicitor who undertakes all types of commercial property work, but has a particular specialism in banking and secured lending.

Jon Bloor joins the corporate commercial team where he will undertake corporate and commercial, private equity, and banking and secured lending work.

Ross and Jon have also developed a reputation in the market for banking and secured lending work over the past few years, and they aim to continue to develop this as part of the Ellisons partnership.

Guy Longhurst, senior partner, said: “We are delighted to have appointed Tim, Ross and Jon to the partnership. We continually look to strengthen and diversify our expertise for our clients, and these appointments compliment that entirely, whilst also developing further our position in the Ipswich and Chelmsford markets.”

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The commercial property team is led by Kevin Wilsher and consists of five partners and 14 other lawyers, with the team split across both offices.

The corporate commercial department, led by Seamus Clifford, serves clients across the eastern region, London and internationally.

•Gavin Acheson has joined regional law firm Birketts as a partner in its commercial property team in Cambridge.

The move sees Gavin working alongside more than a hundred property specialists in one of the largest and most successful property practices outside London.

Gavin said: “Birketts is a genuinely attractive and exciting proposition, for both property lawyer and property market alike. They understand that the City-based pyramid growth model for the provision of legal services, with its constant focus on the next big deal, is no longer fit for purpose in today’s market.

“They combine the talent, experience and expertise of the City law firm with a proper understanding of the value of long-term, personal and mutually beneficial working relationships. I am delighted to be here.”

Kath Herbert, partner and head of Birketts’ commercial property team in Cambridge, said: “Gavin is a fantastic addition to the team and brings a wealth of investment and development expertise to our well-established team at Birketts.

“His knowledge and understanding of the institutional investment and not for profit markets in particular sits very well with our strategic land and mainstream investment and development practices.”

Jonathan Agar, chief executive at Birketts, added: “We’re delighted that we’ve been able to recruit a partner of such standing to our Cambridge practice as we continue our drive for excellence. Gavin joins the firm at an exciting time and will support colleagues across Birketts’ four offices in Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich.”

•Suffolk Chamber of Commerce in Greater Ipswich has announced three new board members, all from major businesses within the area.

Joining the board are Paul Ager, divisional port manager, east coast for ABP Port of Ipswich, Seb Blevings, general manager at John Lewis, and Serhan Ilker, general manager of the Novotel Ipswich.

Catherine Johnson, chair of Suffolk Chamber in Greater Ipswich, said: “Firstly I would like to thank our three retiring board members, Sonia Colchester, Peter Dawes and Dave Muller, for their years of unstinting support for the chamber and the wider business community.

“Secondly, I’m very pleased that Paul, Seb and Serhan have agreed to become board members. Their involvement gives us an even broader representation than before.

“We now have a really good mix on our board of businesses of all sizes, across all market sectors and from both within the town and across its surrounding area, stretching from Woodbridge to Felixstowe.”

She added: “The 14 board members have complementary areas of expertise, aimed at giving Suffolk Chamber in Greater Ipswich an even greater level of expertise and a distinctive voice in ensuring that a business perspective was always uppermost in guiding the many initiatives currently underway across Ipswich and its environs.

“By looking through the lens of business, we can help our public sector partners to deliver the significant projects that will have a major impact on the economic viability of the greater Ipswich area.

“In particular, I believe the proposals for the West Dock Island and the associated Upper Orwell Crossings could be a pivotal initiative in boosting the sub-region’s economic and social wellbeing.”

•Ridgeon Group has appointed Ian Northen as its new chief executive.

He moves into the role after seven years as group finance director having previously worked for 13 years in audit and corporate finance at Cambridge-based accountancy firms.

During his tenure as group finance director, Ridgeons was named in The Sunday Time Profit Track 100, a league table of Britain’s private companies with the fastest-growing profits, and he also led the acquisition of three Ridgeons branches, as well as serving a year as operations director.

Ridgeons is one of the largest independently-owned builders’ merchants in the UK and trades from 26 merchant branches in the East of England.

The group also includes PlumbStock, Anglia Tool Centre, Ridgeons Forest Products and CRS Wholesale. It as annual turnover of around £160mn and employs around 850 people.

Ian said: “It’s a real privilege to be appointed to this role at such an important time for Ridgeon Group. I am determined to build on our strong foundations by focussing on developing our core merchant business, which continues to thrive and grow. We are also looking to the future and this is underlined by Ridgeons’ upcoming online relaunch and the rapid expansion of PlumbStock and Anglia Tool Centre across the region.

“We are proud of our continued heritage as an independent, family-owned business and are excited about the potential for further growth.”

Gordon Ridgeon, family director at Ridgeon Group, said: “We are delighted to appoint Ian to the position of CEO. We are confident that his vision for the future direction of Ridgeons retains the core objectives of our business – to make it easier for our customers to do business and a commitment to our customers, employees, suppliers, business partners and the local communities in which we live and trade.”

•Anglia Farmers (AF) has strengthened its AF PRomote business unit, which offers marketing and public relations services to members and suppliers, with the appointment of a new senior account manager.

Martin Betts has joined from the Country Land and Business Association where he had been working as communications manager for the past three years. His work at the organisation saw him publicising the positive work of farmers, landowners and rural businesses across the eastern region.

Previous to that role, Martin has worked as a journalist for local and regional press, and at an international news agency and also has experience in publishing, design, and marketing.

“It’s great to be part of the AF PRomote team helping members’, suppliers’ and partners’ businesses realise their potential and assist them in reaching the markets they need in order to be successful,” said Martin.

“An increasing number of farm businesses are looking to diversify their operations, setting up a range of new ventures such as farm shops, cafes, retail outlets, leisure activities, and business parks – all of which can benefit from the marketing and communications experience AF PRomote can offer.”

He added: “Communication is the lifeblood of any business, large or small – the ability to do so effectively is one of the biggest factors in achieving success. The potential of your business is limited if you’re unable to promote your services and communicate effectively with clients and colleagues.

“I’m looking forward to talking to AF members, suppliers and partners about their businesses and how the breadth of services we provide can benefit them.”

AF’s head of group marketing, Harry Mitchell, said: “We’re very pleased to have Martin on board. He brings with him a wealth of experience in journalism, publishing, PR and marketing.

“AF PRomote is very successful in helping our members, suppliers and partners enhance their reputations and achieve their business goals, and with the appointment of Martin, we believe we have someone who can continue to do this and grow the business further.”

•Eight new recruits have been welcomed to the Ipswich office of financial and business advisery firm Grant Thornton as part of an ongoing strategy for growth.

Joining Grant Thornton’s audit team at executive level are Kendrin Pillay from South Africa, Muhammad Faheem and Soban Ali from Pakistan and Steve Argent who has transferred from the firm’s London office.

Ben Avery, Alex Abbas and Phoebe Yeung, who originally comes from Hong Kong, have also joined the Ipswich audit team as associates, while Lucy Burton has relocated from Grant Thornton’s London office as an associate in the tax team.

All eight will work alongside the expert team at Grant Thornton Ipswich to further expand their knowledge and experience as they progress their careers with the firm which continues to expand its presence across the region.

Soban Ali said: “I chose to pursue my career in the UK as I believe I can build my skills further by observing the mechanics of a more developed, regulated economy.

“Grant Thornton felt like the right choice as it’s a people orientated firm focused on collaboration, which aligns with my own values. My aim is to build a prosperous career for myself here.”

Kendrin Pillay added: “After qualifying as a Chartered Accountant in South Africa I wanted to gain international experience and the UK has always been a dream destination. Equally, I’ve always been interested in working for Grant Thornton following the positive experiences of others I know so this is a fantastic opportunity for me.”

Rob Thomson, director at Grant Thornton’s Ipswich office, said: “We are committed to investing in the leaders of tomorrow and I am pleased to welcome our eight new recruits who are all shining examples of the bright, driven and passionate people who make up the Grant Thornton team.

“This is an exciting time for Grant Thornton as we continue to expand on our long standing presence across Suffolk, building on the firm’s outstanding reputation as a trusted adviser to many vibrant local businesses.”