People & Appointments

Recruitment, HR and training sector news in Swindon and Wiltshire.

New partner to strengthen law firm's succession and tax offering

Written by Peter Davison.

Douglas SmithLaw firm Thrings has appointed private client, succession and tax specialist Douglas Smith as partner.

Douglas - who has more than 30 years’ experience of acting for UK and non-UK domiciliaries on tax planning, preparing wills and trusts, and probate work involving the administration of substantial and complex estates - joins Thrings from Blake Morgan.

In his new role, Douglas will provide tailored advice which helps new and long-term clients maximise their tax-free allowances and reliefs with regard to inheritance tax, capital gains tax, income tax and stamp duty land tax, and allows them to benefit from domestic and offshore tax mitigation structures.

He will also build on his proven track record in resolving clients’ technical tax issues with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), as well as advising on heritage property-related tax work - including making applications to obtain conditional exemption from tax through dealings with HMRC’s Heritage team.

Meanwhile, Douglas will also strengthen Thrings’ private wealth offering by bringing a substantial caseload of existing clients, in particular high-net-worth individuals with business interests in the UK, the Middle East and the United States.

Douglas said: “The rapid pace of change within tax law, set against a backdrop of ongoing economic and political uncertainty, means it is arguably more essential than ever that individuals with specific personal and commercial objectives manage their legal affairs at the correct time and in a way that reflects their personal and financial circumstances.

“Thrings recognises the value that a private client presence can add to its commercial client base. As a result, I am tremendously excited to be contributing to the ongoing expansion of the firm and providing legal advice which adds value and allows clients to make informed decisions about their tax and succession affairs.”

Fiona Kellow, head of private client at Thrings in Swindon added: “We are delighted to welcome Douglas to Thrings and look forward to seeing him add his vast knowledge and expertise to the firm’s highly regarded succession and tax team.

“Douglas’ advisory skills will not only compliment our private individuals’ needs, but he will also be able to provide much more in-depth specialist advice for individuals in business structures. Private client is a growth area which we recognise and our teams are well placed to deal with the needs of clients from all fields.”

New role sees Emma go full circle

Written by Peter Davison.

Emma ButcherIt’s back to the business where it all started for Emma Butcher, who has secured the position of regional head of sales for the Severn Valley region with housebuilder Wainhomes.

Originally from Suffolk, Emma, 40, has over 21 years of experience working in the new build homes sector across Yorkshire - but has relocated to Bristol to take up this new role, which covers developments in Swindon and Wiltshire.

She began her career working as a sales administrator with Wainhomes, in York, back in 1998 and stayed with the business until 2001. Emma progressed in her career through the years, going on to hold a number of key Sales Manager roles with several large, well-known developers across the north - but she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to be part of an exciting new chapter at Wainhomes.

The recently established Severn Valley business is building a wide range of new properties, from two bedroom apartments to five bedroom family homes, throughout Bristol, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire.

“I’m delighted to be re-joining Wainhomes after all these years and I’m looking forward to be back promoting both the brand and the high-quality homes the developer is known for,” Said Emma.

“The challenge of setting up and establishing this new Severn Valley region is one that excites me and I’m looking forward to getting started. Although this is a return to the company where it all began for me, it also represents a big step forward in my career, to move into the boardroom.”

Carl Haley, managing director with Wainhomes, adds: “It’s great to have Emma back on board and the knowledge and experience she has gathered in the years since her first role with us almost two decades ago will be a real asset to Wainhomes and our plans for our newly established region.”

Nationwide CFO steps down as society announces strong annual results

Written by Peter Davison.

Mark RennisonThe chief financial officer of Swindon-based building society Nationwide has revealed his intention to retire.

Mark Rennison, who has held the post for 12 years, will remain in post until a replacement is found.

Nationwide's chairman, David Roberts said: "The Board would like to thank Mark for his valuable contribution to the success of the Society for more than 12 years.

"He has balanced leading us through the most challenging external environment in memory whilst ensuring our finances are rigorously managed so that we can invest in the future and grow the business for our members.

"We are grateful that Mark will remain in role until a successor is appointed and we will be sorry to see him go."

Mark Rennison said: "It has been an honour to serve Nationwide for over a decade as Chief Financial Officer.

"The business is financially strong and growing. We are investing for the future as well as maintaining our strong capital position.

"There are exciting opportunities ahead as the Society builds from a position of underlying strength. I remain fully committed to the job until a successor is in place."

The news came as Nationwide published its financial results for the year ending April 4.

The firm highlighted record lending, strong deposit growth, and record membership, with one in five current account switchers joining Nationwide. Membership nw stands at 15.9 million, up from 15.5 million this time last year.

However, profits fell 19 percent to £788 million amid increased spending on digital banking services and competition in the mortgage market.

Chief executive Joe Garner, said: "2018/19 was a strong year for Nationwide. More people have chosen us for their mortgages, savings or current accounts.

"I believe that the combination of excellent service and great long-term value is driving our growth. We remain ahead of our peer group on service1 and trust. Our strong performance has meant we have provided extra value to members, with member financial benefit of £705m, well above our aim of at least £400m.

"During the year, we also announced a significant boost in our technology investment over five years to ensure we continue to excel on service.

"These were conscious decisions we were able to make as a building society. As we expected, they have had an impact on profits in the short term, but these choices are in the long-term interests of our members.

"We have also taken two other decisions to serve our members better. The first is a pledge to keep a branch in every town or city that has one currently for at least the next two years. And the second is to launch a current account for small businesses, offering everyday great service and value."

Cashflow guru becomes president of Swindon business group

Written by Peter Davison.

Nicki KintonSwindon businesswoman Nicki Kinton, of Confident Cashflow, has been named the new president of BNI Read Chapter in Swindon.

“It’s a great privilege to lead such as fantastic referral networking group, I’m really looking forward continuing the great work the outgoing president, Neil Ginger, has done in growing the Chapter.”

BNI, or Business Networking International, is a worldwide network of more than 250,000 business owners who refer business to each other via a group setting. In Swindon alone there are three groups.

Nicki, who started her own business almost two years ago, said: “I started in BNI in June 2018 and it has really helped me and my business to grow. Not only in terms of business generated but also from the support and encouragement of other members, as well as enabling me to engage some trusted suppliers.

"I enjoy BNI meetings and I get a real kick out of connecting people and seeing good things happen as a result.”.

Nicki is hoping to help the BNI group expand its current membership in the next 12 months to over 50 members. The group meets at the Village Hotel, Shaw Ridge, Swindon every Wednesday from 6.45am.

Nicki started her own business Confident Cashflow in 2017 – this followed a career of more than 20 years as a credit and cashflow controller for various companies. Today Nicki and her associates work across the UK helping businesses get their cash flow under control.

Nicki was brought up with numbers, through her work experience at her father’s accountancy practice. She is one of a handful of people to hold a first class BA Hons degree in credit management and she is also an accredited member of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management.

Plumbing company welcomes new family member

Written by Peter Davison.

Katie WilliamsKatie Williams is keeping business in the family by joining forces with her parents and sister at one of Wiltshire’s leading heating and plumbing companies John Williams Heating Services.

Katie, who’s 21 and lives in Studley, has just joined the company as an administrator after working in childcare.

“I wanted a new challenge,” Katie said. “I thoroughly enjoyed working in my previous role in childcare. I’ve grown up with the family business and now felt the right time to become part of it.”

“I have to say I’m loving it. Every day is different, I’m getting to know the customers and the ebb and flow of working within the trades sector.”

In joining the company Katie is ensuring the success of this growing company has a real family feel. Co-founders John and Debbie Williams are her parents and her sister Georgina already works within the company as the office manager.

“Family is important to us and we have always wanted to make it clear we are a caring family business. It makes sense for Katie to join us so that we can all serve the community in which we live for years to come,” Debbie said.

Katie, a former student of Hardenhuish School, lives with her partner Ollie and their one-year-old daughter, Millie.

WH Smith chief executive to step down

Written by Peter Davison.

WH Smith headquarters in SwindonWH Smith group chief executive Stephen Clarke has announced his intention to leave the Swindon-headquartered firm after six years.

He will be replaced at the beginning of November by Carl Cowling, the current managing director of WHSmith’s high street arm.

The announcement was made amid WH Smith’s third-quarter trading update, in which it said its year-to date-sales had increased by 15 percent after it rolled out new outlets at airports.

Chairman Henry Staunton said: "Stephen has made an outstanding contribution to WH Smith. The Board is particularly grateful to him for his dedication and leadership, which has seen WH Smith go from strength to strength and deliver exceptional shareholder value over the last six years.

"He has built an excellent management team and has put in place a proven strategy which will continue to deliver for all our stakeholders.

"I am delighted that Carl will be Stephen's successor. Carl has been instrumental in the development and execution of our successful strategy that has led to the company's outstanding performance.

"Carl has the qualities and experience to lead the Company and continue to deliver superior shareholder returns over the years to come.

"Carl will work alongside Robert Moorhead, c.f.o.\c.o.o. since 2008, who has supported Stephen over the last six years and Robert will continue to bring his significant experience and retail expertise to the board."

Promotions at Wiltshire law firm

Written by Peter Davison.

Back: Kathryn Smith Cowap, Jennifer Vooght and Sarah Alexander Front: Josh Taylor and Katie RaybouldThree solicitors have been made partners at Wiltshire law firm Wansbroughs. Sarah Alexander works in the residential property department, while Kathryn Smith Cowap and Jennifer Vooght are both private client specialists.

Sarah is a highly experienced solicitor who specialises in all types of residential property work.

She joined Wansbroughs in 2011 and, said the firm, her expertise has been greatly appreciated bringing a wealth of knowledge to the residential team. Kathryn Smith Cowap joined the firm in 2008 and specialises in all aspects of wills, trusts, tax and estate planning for individuals, trustees and executors.

Kathryn also has a great depth of experience in relation to the administration of estates including those based solely in the UK as well as those involving assets held abroad.

Kathryn was recently recognised within the Legal 500 as “one to watch”. Jennifer Vooght joined the firm in 2007 and advises on a broad range of matters including Wills, tax planning, the administration of estates and trusts as well as issues affecting clients as they grow older such as care home fees and lasting powers of attorney.

Jennifer was recommended within Legal 500 and was recently awarded the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Diploma in Trusts and Estates with Distinction. This qualification is widely regarded as a mark of excellence in the profession. The firm has also promoted two lawyers to associate solicitor status.

Josh Taylor focuses on dispute resolution for both businesses and individuals and Katie Raybould undertakes a wide range of residential property matters. Stuart McGregor-Johnson, chairman of Wansbroughs, said: “The partners at Wansbroughs are delighted to recognise their valuable contribution.

"Their hard work in delivering exceptional service to our clients is appreciated and we wish them continued success in their new roles in the firm.”

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