PeopleMoves: Three business managers join Ashtons team

From left Russell Fox, Jane Gaynor, Ben Hallatt and Julian Baume of Ashtons Legal. Picture: DAVE RIC

From left Russell Fox, Jane Gaynor, Ben Hallatt and Julian Baume of Ashtons Legal. Picture: DAVE RICHARDSON/BIGPHATPHOTOS - Credit: Archant

East Anglian law firm Ashtons Legal has created a new tier of business managers to support its lawyers.

Sophie Smuk, software firm two10degrees. Picture: NEIL CURNO

Sophie Smuk, software firm two10degrees. Picture: NEIL CURNO - Credit: two10degrees

The firm, which employs 340 staff across its offices in Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds, Cambridge, Norwich and Thetford, has taken on three new managers in the newly-created roles.

Russell Fox, Jane Gaynor and Ben Hallatt have joined existing staff member Julian Baume and will work alongside the firm’s property group, individual client services group, business legal group and injury services group heads.

The firm says it has created the new positions to ensure its lawyers are able to focus on providing quality legal advice to clients while others grow and develop the business.

The business managers will ensure the firm has a consistently client-focused and efficient approach, and uses technology effectively within its different legal teams. Their remit will include staff coaching, financial forecasting and analysis, and project planning and implementation.

Simon Caltagirone, Birketts. Picture: BIRKETTS

Simon Caltagirone, Birketts. Picture: BIRKETTS - Credit: birketts


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Russell and Ben both have military backgrounds, and more recently Ben has worked in the training industry. Jane previously worked for an international data firm and ran her own cost management business.

Chief executive Ed O’Rourke said he was “delighted” to welcome the three and was looking forward to working with them to drive the firm’s future success.

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“Russell, Jane, Ben and Julian are skilled managers and as their roles are new, they are able to look at the needs of the business with fresh eyes,” he said.

“In order to drive our business forward we need to adapt our services and the ways in which we deliver them to suit our clients. This will be done more effectively and profitably by harnessing the skills of business managers while enabling our senior lawyers to focus on what they do best – delivering effective legal advice to protect clients’ businesses and families.”

Jon Bloor, Ellisons. Picture: DARREN GEE

Jon Bloor, Ellisons. Picture: DARREN GEE - Credit: ellisons

Ipswich-based software firm two10degrees, part of the Nova Group of companies, has appointed a corporate support officer, Sophie Smuk.

“I am thrilled to be joining the two10degrees team at what appears to be an exciting time for the company, with new ventures on the horizon,” she said.

“It will be an interesting challenge and learning curve for me working in the software development industry, but I am keen to hit the ground running.”

Tim Bacon, Ellisons. Picture: DARREN GEE

Tim Bacon, Ellisons. Picture: DARREN GEE - Credit: ellisons

Sophie has spent almost 10 years’ experience in a number of dynamic business administration roles, including personal assistance and marketing and event coordination, and will provide support to the entire two10degrees team.

Her role is to promote a fun, innovative and productive working environment which includes reception management, social function co-ordination and culture care.

Technical director Richard Prodger said: “I’m very pleased to welcome Sophie on board. It’s an exciting time for two10degrees, having recently been acquired by The Nova Group. Thanks to the acquisition we now have access to a wealth of excellent, award-winning HR resource which will benefit our entire team.”

Matt King, group finance director, has joined the Healthcare Homes Holdings Limited board of directo

Matt King, group finance director, has joined the Healthcare Homes Holdings Limited board of directors. - Credit: Healthcare Homes

Ipswich-based law firm Birketts has appointed Simon Caltagirone as a senior associate in its corporate criminal defence team.

Simon’s expertise covers the breadth of criminal and regulatory defence work but with a strong focus on financial crime. He has a thriving practice dedicated to delivering plain speaking and exacting standards of advice in corporate criminal investigations, with particular specialisms in competition, anti-trust, bribery and money-laundering related matters.

Simon said: “I am delighted to be joining Birketts. The Corporate Criminal Defence Team is widely acknowledged as having vibrant and superbly talented practitioners by clients and practitioners alike. I look forward to contributing to Birketts and working on its impressive range of client matters.”

Laura Thomas, Partner and Head of Birketts’ Corporate Criminal Defence Team said: “I’m thrilled to have recruited someone of Simon’s stature. Simon was called to the Bar and cross-qualified as a Solicitor of England and Wales, whilst also gaining police station accreditation. He receives domestic and international referrals from corporates and individuals. Although based in Cambridge he will support colleagues across Birketts’ four offices: Cambridge, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Norwich.”

Niki Waters with Premier Travel Group co-owners Peter Andrews (left) and Renford Sargent (right). Pi

Niki Waters with Premier Travel Group co-owners Peter Andrews (left) and Renford Sargent (right). Picture: KELLY FELSTEAD - Credit: kelly felstead

New Ellison partners Jon Bloor and Tim Bacon have now taken up permanent residence at the Ipswich branch of the Suffolk and Essex law firm.

The firm said it was “delighted” the pair, taken on in April, are now permanently based at the Ipswich office.

Tim joined the expanding commercial property department, with a particular focus on development work and large scale strategic sites for residential and commercial development.

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

Jon and Tim’s arrival means that Ellisons now have partners based full time in the Ipswich office covering all commercial practice areas.

They join head of employment Julian Outen and head of personal injury Robert Gair.

Colchester-based residential residential and domiciliary care specialist Healthcare Homes Group has welcomed group finance director Matt King to the Healthcare Homes Holdings Limited board of directors.

Matt joins chairman Philip George, founding directors David Bates and Graham Lomer, group chief executive Gordon Cochrane, as a company director on the Holdings board.

Matt, a chartered accountant by profession, joined the Healthcare Homes team as group accountant in 2008. Prior to this, he spent four years with PKF in a business advisory role, including a year working in Corporate Finance, predominantly focused on mergers and acquisitions.

Since moving to Healthcare Homes Group, he has been involved in a number of developments within the finance department including implementation and upgrades of various financial systems, corporate restructures, treasury management, investor relations, numerous acquisitions and was heavily involved in a re-financing programme in 2015. This led him to receive several promotions, taking him to his current role of group finance director, which he accepted in April.

Gordon said: “Matt is a commercially driven individual with a desire to grow the business and deliver a strong return for the investors and shareholders.

“He has acquired experience of managing the finance team, together with various projects at any one time, during his career at Healthcare Homes Group and oversees the day-to-day operations of the back office finance function.

“Matt shows great enthusiasm in supporting the growth of the group whilst at the same time keeping a firm hand on our finances and ensuring investment in our current portfolio continues. He has shown great integrity, loyalty and commitment since joining the Group and I am delighted that he has agreed a position on the board of directors.”

East Anglian travel firm Premier Travel Group has expanded its board of directors to support the company’s continued growth over the past few years.

Niki Waters was appointed to the Cambridgeshire-based local travel company board to strengthen and broaden its senior leadership team.

The firm has increased sales and growth across its 18 retail branches in East Anglia and in its tour operation division, Premier Holidays. She takes responsibility for the group’s human resources.

Chairman and co-owner Renford Sargent said: “This appointment has been made to ensure that we focus on the well-being and happiness of our team to ensure Premier’s continued growth.”

Niki joined Premier in 1994 in a temporary position while at university. After graduating, she returned to the firm for 18 months before relocating to the south coast, continuing to work in the travel industry for the next few years before setting off to travel the world.

Following relocation back to Cambridge in 2004, Niki returned to Premier and has occupied a number of senior roles, most recently looking after the company’s major head office relocation after 80 years in the centre of Cambridge out to Cambourne Business Park in 2016.

Earlier this year, Niki moved into the head office HR department after studying for an advanced qualification with the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, bringing new ideas to improve staff interests and well-being.

“It’s a privilege to join the board of directors and I look forward to implementing new initiatives to help the company grow even further and look after our great team,” she said.

“From its inception, the company motto has always been ‘It’s all about the people’ and in todays’ competitive travel industry it is so important that we look after our loyal and long-serving experienced employees who make our company what it is today.”

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