Movers & Shakers: Skinner’s appoints FD Lee Phillips as managing director

Skinner's finance director, Lee Phillips, has taken over the reins from outgoing managing director G

Skinner's finance director, Lee Phillips, has taken over the reins from outgoing managing director Greg Panter. - Credit: Archant

Pet food firm Skinner’s finance director, Lee Phillips, has taken over the reins from outgoing managing director Greg Panter who has stepped down after 16 years.

Lee joined Skinner’s, based at the Mill, Stradbroke, near Eye, in 2002 as financial controller and rose to finance director in 2008. Throughout his time at Skinner’s he has gained experience in IT, HR, telecoms, haulage, key accounts and looks after customer services.

“I am so proud to have been chosen to succeed Greg at the helm of such a friendly, inspiring company. Every single employee – from the outgoing MD, Greg, through to the reception team - shares the same passion for the brand and the love of their customers,” he said.

His first significant task is likely to be to oversee the launch of Skinner’s major new range, due to hit shelves in early 2017. The launch is seen as a key step in helping promote the the brand throughout the pet sector. His longer term vision for the company is for it to become a major, recognised pet brand – equalling its top spot in the working dog food sector.

Lee was born in Ipswich in 1974, and spent most of his boyhood in Suffolk - although because his father was in the army, he also spent time in Northern Ireland and Germany. He studied for an HND in mineral engineering at the Cornwall University, Camborne Campus. But he struggled working underground, and instead opted to become a trainee accountant.

Lee has three boys, Josh (16), Ethan (12) and Tom (9) and is a lifelong dog lover.

Greg said the firm was “extremely lucky” to have Lee at this “really important time for our company”.

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“He’s fully involved himself with many aspects of the business throughout the last 14 years and developed a wealth of knowledge that will help take us forward during these exciting times of growth and development,” he said.

::East of England law firm Birketts has promoted 12 lawyers at its Ipswich office.

Sonya O’Reilly has been promoted to legal director and Sophie Ransome to associate in the employment law team. Leah Finnegan and Sarah Lewis both become senior associate in the corporate and commercial team.

The agriculture and estates team has promoted Tom Verrill and Edward Willis to associate, and Josh Ripman and Hanna McNab become senior associate and associate respectively in the construction and engineering team.

Sarah Holsgrove is promoted to senior associate and Pamela Dunning to associate in the shipping team, and Alice Harris and Laura Tanguay to associate in property litigation.

The promotions follow a sustained period of growth for the firm, which recently reported a record turnover of £39.2m for the last financial year.

Chief executive said: “To support our growth we continue to focus on attracting and retaining first class solicitors. In total we have promoted 27 lawyers across our four offices as we look to recognise the talent that we have within the firm. Coupled with this talent is an unrelenting commitment to deliver consistently outstanding service to our clients, whether they are based within our immediate region, nationally or overseas.”

::Health and wellbeing and rehabilitation services RehabWorks has appointed a new chairman to its board of directors.

David Mobbs is the former group chief executive of Nuffield Health.

He has had a successful career as a senior executive across both private and public health sectors. From 2003 he led the development of Nuffield Health, taking the organisation on a journey from hospital operator to a £700m integrated health business.

Chief executive Derrick Farrell said the firm, which is based at Bury St Edmunds, was “enormously pleased and excited” to welcome him.

“As an organisation already delivering exceptional health and wellbeing services, we are enjoying a period of huge growth and development, and see David’s vision and experience as being enormously beneficial to those plans,” he said.

David said he was “excited” to be joining the firm and supporting the board’s business strategy.

“I look forward to sharing my knowledge and expertise and outside-in perspectives,” he said.

The business employs more than 165 staff and has 10 offices around the UK.

::Property consultancy Carter Jonas has strengthened its national planning and development network by appointing a new lead in the East of England.

Mathew Forster will lead the eastern regional development team from Carter Jonas’ Cambridge office. He brings more than 25 years of experience in residential development to strengthen its overall planning and development offering across the eastern region.

Mathew joins from Strutt & Parker’s national development and planning department, where he specialised in residential development at the company’s Cambridge office. Prior to this, he was Spicerhaart’s land and new homes manager in the East Midlands and East Anglia, and a non-equity partner at Spaceward Limited.

East head of planning Colin Brown said: “Mathew has over 25 years’ of experience, and has a deep understanding of how to deliver complex urban sites and significant regeneration projects for both public and private sector clients. He will be an invaluable asset to the Carter Jonas planning network as we realise our ambition to further expand this part of our business by providing specialist advice to our clients in a challenging political climate.”

Mathew said taking on his new role was “highly appealing” to him.

::Martlesham-based law firm Barker Gotelee has expanded its team with the appointment of Daniel Fairs in the property team and Jane Haviland-Webster, who will be working with the business services, private client and property teams.

Daniel joins as an associate solicitor, specialising in commercial property transactions, and has experience in both residential and commercial property aspects.

He is a committee member for the future lawyers of Chelmsford and Colchester (FLOCC), and a previous committee member for the Suffolk and North Essex Junior Lawyers (SNEJLD).

Joining the firm as a trainee solicitor, Jane brings a wealth of business expertise into the firm, having accumulated more than 25 years’ project management experience in a variety of sectors in both the UK and overseas.

She holds a LLM in Environmental Law, as well as a distinction in the Graduate Diploma in Law and a commendation in the Legal Practice Course.

Senior partner James Skellorn said: “We’re delighted to welcome Jane and Daniel to our friendly and professional team here at Barker Gotelee.”

::Four members of the expanding team at the Ipswich office of financial and business advisers Grant Thornton have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to the firm with a promotion.

In the audit department, Liz King, Molly Crow and James Nichols all take on the new role of assistant manager, while Andrew Garnham has been promoted to assistant manager in the tax team.

Tax director Rob Thomson said: “As a firm we are not only committed to helping our clients grow and fulfil their ambitions but also, and very importantly, to encouraging our people to do the same.

“We continue to build a unique working environment which fosters personal growth and enables our people to take ownership of their careers. Without exception, these four individuals possess high levels of ability and continually demonstrate the enthusiasm and dedication required to drive the business forward. I am delighted to congratulate them all on their well-deserved promotions.”