People: Bibby Financial Services; Bridge insurance services; Relentless group; Cundall; Butcher & Barlow; Total fitness

Liverpool-based billing financier Bibby Financial Services (BFS) has appointed Stephen Hand as head of UK sales to bolster its support for SMEs across the country.

Stephen joins BFS with 20 years’ experience in financial services and 13 years with Lloyds Banking Group in trade finance for SMEs.

He has held various senior sales positions within Lloyds, most recently as Managing Director, National Head of Billing and Asset Finance Sales.

Derek Ryan, UK Managing Director of BFS, said: “In addition to the existing talent and experience of our sales team, I am confident that we will be able to significantly increase our support for UK SMEs and business intermediaries with Stephen on board.

Stephen joins BFS on October 3, 2022.

He said: “More than ever, it is vital that SMEs have the support they need to thrive and grow. BFS is a highly innovative company with an excellent reputation as a provider of future-oriented financing solutions for both SMEs and business advisors. I look forward to meeting colleagues, customers and channel partners over the coming months.


Bridge Insurance Brokers has invited Andre Backner (36) and Alex Cohen (33) to become board members. Andre and Alex are the sons of Bridge founders Mike Backner and Gilbert Cohen and have both worked with the company for most of their careers.

Andre moved from the London office to Manchester where he was invited to be manager and Alex was invited to be the manager based in the London office. Their promotions to the board will mark a new era for the company, which was founded more than 50 years ago.

Independent Corporate Insurance Brokers was first established in Manchester’s North Quarter and now employs over 100 people across its two offices, with a range of specialties. André and Alex will leverage the team’s expertise across all sectors, with a particular focus on growing construction and real estate in the North and South.

Alex Cohen, left, and André Backner

Andre said: “Having been with Bridge for 14 years, I know the inner workings of the organization and am delighted to be asked to join the board and move to the Manchester headquarters. The town is in a continuing period of exciting growth and we are a vital part of that growth, working with some of the region’s most influential developers and owners.

Alex said: “The London branch of Bridge is now 11 years old and building a strong following which complements that of our Manchester team. Andre and I look forward to building on the brilliant foundations here at Bridge, introducing new ways of working that will allow us to continue to drive the UK and international brokerage market.

Mike Backner said: “Gilbert and I are incredibly proud of everything Bridge stands for and we both always love coming to work. This will not change, but it is the right time to invite the next generation to the board of directors.

“André and Alex will usher the business into its next era, working alongside our CEO Roger Potts, our CFO Catherine Moss and our Property Director Paul Spurway. Andre and Alex will take over when they receive the regulatory approval from the FCA. We can’t wait to see them take over.”


Katy Leeson, former managing director of Social Chain UK, has joined Gary Neville’s Relentless group.

Leeson left Social Chain in January, after five years at the helm.

As CEO of Relentless Group’s media division, she will work for Salford City FC and Neville’s SkyBet-sponsored YouTube channel, The Overlap.

Katy Leson

She said: “As a team, we start with the marketing and branding responsibilities of Salford City FC and The Overlap – which is an absolute dream come true.

“As a little girl, I grew up attending Oldham Athletic games with my dad. I got to experience first hand the magic of watching your heroes play. doing the same with Salford is enough to make me emotional.

During her time at Social Chain, she oversaw the strongest growth in its history. She also championed employee mental health, employing a full-time life coach and opting-out therapy sessions for staff.

Leeson joined Social Chain from MediaCom North where she was responsible for new business and marketing.


Multidisciplinary engineering consultancy, Cundall, has named two new partners to its global leadership team. The addition of Rob Turner in Manchester and Alejandro (Alex) Saez in Singapore brings the number of partners in the business to 44, strengthening its existing management team and paving the way for continued growth.

The announcement comes just two weeks after Cundall announced that Carole O’Neil would take over as global managing partner from July 1. Carole takes over the business 15 years after her arrival and succeeds Tomás Neeson, who served as Managing Partner for eight years and will now act as Chairman of the Cundall Partners.

The appointments coincide with the launch of a new strategy for Cundall, reinforcing the global company’s commitment to sustainability – Cundall has pledged that all projects will be zero carbon in design by 2030. The strategy also sets goals for the practice for the next 10 years, building on the vision set by previous generations of partners. This includes a renewed focus on culture and ensuring Cundall remains a people-focused practice.

Rob Turner

Carole O’Neil said, “Successive generations of Cundall partners have built an incredible business, built on the principle that we will act as stewards of this business for the next generation. Our philosophy has always been strongly rooted in sustainability, and I look forward to input from my new colleagues as we continue to promote this in our business. »

Based in Cundall’s offices in Manchester, Rob Turner is responsible for acoustics in the UK. He joined the firm in 2015 and already had a decade of experience as an acoustic consultant under his belt.

Since then, his passion for holistic and pragmatic engineering and low-carbon building solutions has led him to become involved in several large-scale projects. These include the English Cities Fund’s £36m Eden office block, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Science and Engineering building and Lancashire’s Red Rose Stand redevelopment County Cricket Club.


North West law firm, Butcher & Barlow, has announced the expansion of its conveyancing team with the appointment of experienced licensed legal executive, Su Wilson.

With over 35 years’ experience in the conveyancing industry, Su joins Butcher & Barlow to focus on providing residential conveyancing within the firm’s Frodsham office, one of 10 offices in Butcher & Barlow.

As a local resident herself, Su looks forward to working with local families and individuals to navigate the ever-changing housing market across Frodsham and surrounding areas.

su wilson

Su said, “I am delighted to join Butcher & Barlow and be back in a traditional law firm, having worked remotely at a volume transfer company.

“There are many facets to transferring ownership and a few hurdles to jump through, but that’s why I love being part of the industry – knowing that my role can help ease the burden of such an important decision in life.

“I really look forward to supporting area residents through the process of buying or selling their home, no matter what life stage or personal situation they are in.”

Lynsey Stuchfield, Residential Property Team Leader at Butcher & Barlow, said: “Su has worked in Runcorn, Widnes and Warrington, and brings a wealth of local knowledge and specialist knowledge to the team.”


Wilmslow-based Total Fitness has made two new appointments to its new brand development team, which will oversee the implementation of customer-led brand strategies for the fitness brand and its 15 clubs in North America. England and Wales.

Kerry Curtis

Using a different approach to the organizational structure typical of the fitness industry, Total Fitness has chosen not to take the traditional route of a dedicated fitness team, but to form a brand development team that will think differently, driving the innovation through customer knowledge.

After joining Total Fitness in September 2018 as Head of Marketing, Kerry Curtis has been named Head of Brand Development and will lead this unique new team. Kerry will take a customer-centric approach to brand strategy development and product implementation across the company.

Dean Zweck

Working closely with Kerry, Dean Zweck has been named Head of Product Development, having joined the fitness brand in September 2019 as Head of Personal Training. Dean will focus on creating and implementing health and fitness products across Total Fitness’ 15 clubs.

Kerry Curtis said, “I am thrilled to lead the newly created brand development team with customer focus at the heart of every decision we make.

Dean Zweck said, “Since joining Total Fitness, I’ve seen firsthand exactly how our organization operates differently, ensuring our customers’ needs are the top priority. With this new role and the expanded brand development team, we will be able to truly listen to our members across all of our clubs to create an unparalleled brand experience and create products we know they will love.