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Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
Coreena Ford

People on the move: top North East appointments and promotions of the week

Sarah Slaven has been appointed as the permanent managing director of Business Durham, Durham County Council’s business support service.

Ms Slaven previously held the post of operations director at Business Durham before taking on the position of interim managing director in early 2020.

She has supported the council’s response to Covid and the unprecedented impact it has had on businesses across the county. She has also played a key role in the continued support to business provided by the council through engaging with businesses and facilitating programmes such as the Durham Business Opportunities Programme, Digital Drive County Durham, the County Durham Growth Fund, Finance Durham and Durham City Incubator.

Sarah Slaven, managing director of Business Durham (Business Durham)

She said: “I am delighted to be appointed to the role and extremely proud of the work Business Durham has done to help businesses navigate these unprecedented times and to support business growth, create jobs and attract inward investment to County Durham.

“I’m thrilled to have been given the opportunity to continue leading this fantastic work in a permanent role. As well as our great range of existing business support programmes, I look forward to introducing new initiatives to help businesses meet the changing demands they face and take advantage of new opportunities.”

Chris Hird and Lee Jefferson of Haines Watts (Haines Watts)

Accountancy and business advisory firm Haines Watts has appointed Lee Jefferson as a corporate finance assistant manager.

Mr Jefferson brings 16 years of experience in the industry. He is the second senior corporate finance appointment over the last 12 months, with Maria Mckenna having joined as manager earlier in the financial year.

He said: “Despite the ongoing restrictions of Covid, Haines Watts has put a significant amount of time and thought into welcoming new starters. This, along with a number of familiar faces from previous jobs, has made settling into new surroundings very easy.

“Having previously worked with both Chris and Maria, I have seen their drive and determination first hand. I am delighted to have joined the team at such an exciting time and I am looking forward to finding new opportunities to build the service line further.”

Chris Hird, corporate finance associate partner, added: “I am delighted to welcome Lee to our growing team. His expertise will be invaluable when it comes to supporting clients in the months ahead.”

Mark Overton of Tolent (Tolent)

Gateshead construction firm Tolent has appointed Mark Overton as chief financial officer.

Mr Overton will work with the newly-appointed CEO Paul Webster in a new look executive board. He has more than a decade’s worth of experience as CFO at Colas, a £300m UK-based business in the transport infrastructure market.

He said: “I feel very privileged to be taking on the role of CFO for Tolent. My personal goals align with Tolent’s vision perfectly, and it feels like a great fit on many levels.

“Being a part of the construction industry for as long as I can remember, I have been impressed with Tolent and its mighty portfolio of works it has delivered in the past. I am really looking forward to this new adventure and very keen to know more about Tolent, its team, and its projects.”

Mr Webster added: “We are thrilled to have someone of Mark’s calibre join our organisation and I look forward to working closely with him over the coming months as he familiarises himself with our business.”

Family law barrister Naakesha Michl has joined Parklane Plowden (Parklane Plowden)

Newcastle and Leeds-based Parklane Plowden Chambers has welcomed Naakesha Michl to its 44-strong family team.

Ms Michl, who was called to the Bar in 2013, specialises in all aspects of family law including public and private children law and finance. She joins from KBW Chambers where she spent the first six years of her career, combining a criminal and family law practice.

She acts for all parties in public and private law proceedings, including parents, grandparents and other family members, intervenors, children and local authorities.

Ms Michl said: “Parklane Plowden’s family law practice has an outstanding reputation, and it is a chambers with a progressive approach and clear growth plan. I am very pleased to join the set and look forward to playing my part in further developing the family team’s expertise for the benefit of current and future clients.”

Jamie O’Brien of EC Outsourcing (EC Outsourcing)

UK-based customer service and sales specialist EC Outsourcing have appointed a new commercial director.

Jamie O’Brien, formerly head of commercial partnerships at OVO Energy, joins the Sunderland based firm as commercial director following a year of multi-year contract wins and staffing growth.

With almost seven years in the energy industry and over 14 years in telecoms with BT, he brings with him a wealth of experience in addition to a strong background in commercial negotiation.

He said: “I’ve always been curious about how EC create such a great people-focused culture which I believe to be the key to their great service and reputation. When I saw there was an opportunity to help scale that, I couldn’t say no.”

Colin Hewitt of the Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland (Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland)

The Community Foundation Tyne & Wear and Northumberland has welcomed Colin Hewitt as a trustee and Kevin Maloney as philanthropy advisor.

Mr Hewitt has been a partner at law firm Ward Hadaway for 40 years holding a range of management positions. He has worked across the public, charity and private sectors acting for, among others, Northern Rock Foundation, the North East Social Investment Fund and the Foundation of Light.

He said: “Giving back to the communities in which we live and work is a quality which is firmly entrenched within my business. Becoming a trustee is an incredibly important role and I relish the challenge and the chance to support the vital work which the Community Foundation supports right across our region”.

Mr Maloney joins the Community Foundation staff team based at Philanthropy House. Prior to joining, he was a banking lawyer at Muckle LLP, where he provided a range of advice for banks and other lenders, businesses and organisations.

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