Gloucestershire business appointments round-up: April 2023

From the first ever female director at GCHQ to the Gloucestershire MP who is now a secretary of state – plus the county professor who appeared in the Sex and the City movie – SoGlos shares the key appointments in the Gloucestershire business community in April 2023.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
SoGlos lists some of the key movers and shakers in Gloucestershire in April 2023.

The Gloucestershire business community continues to move fast, with no shortage of notable appointments and promotions to shout about in April 2023. 

SoGlos rounds up some key highlights, including the appointment of GCHQ's first female director in its 100-year history and the county MP who's been made a secretary of state.

Anne Keast-Butler – GCHQ

Cheltenham-based intelligence, security and cyber agency GCHQ has announced its first female director in the organisation's history, with Anne Keast-Butler taking over from Sir Jeremy Fleming.

Foreign secretary James Cleverly announced Keast-Butler’s appointment as the 17th director of the Government Communications Headquarters on Tuesday 11 April 2023.

She is currently serving as the deputy director general at MI5 and will take over from Fleming in May 2023. Fleming announced his intention to step down from the role after six years in January 2023.

Dr Emily Ryall – Rugby Football Union

A University of Gloucestershire expert in ethical issues within sport has been appointed to a newly-created Rugby Football Union (RFU) panel, aimed at tackling discriminatory behaviour in the game.

Dr Emily Ryall, a reader in applied philosophy within the university’s school of social, natural and sports sciences, is among 11 independent members who will sit on the RFU’s inclusion and diversity disciplinary panel.

Dr Ryall, who currently sits on the Gloucestershire RFU disciplinary panel, has undertaken extensive research around issues related to ethics and good governance in sport. The new RFU panel will hear all disciplinary cases relating to on and off-field rugby matters that involve an allegation of discriminatory behaviour.

Alex Chalk – HM Government

Alex Chalk, MP for Cheltenham, has been appointed Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice.

Chalk was Minister of State in the Ministry of Defence from October 2022 to April 2023 and was formerly HM Solicitor General for England and Wales and the Prisons and Probation Minister.

The father of two has been the Member of Parliament for Cheltenham since 2015; before that, he was a barrister, prosecuting and defending in cases concerning terrorism, international fraud and homicide.

Helen Whitfield – Butler Sherborn

Butler Sherborn, the Cotswolds property specialist based in Stow-on-the-Wold, has appointed Helen Whitfield as an associate partner and head of residential agency.

Whitfield obtained her RICS accredited degree from the Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester in 2008 and worked for Savills, South West London in the lettings department for four years.

She then moved to the country house department of Savills to cover the Cotswolds and surrounding area, selling properties over £2.5 million – working there for three years while based and living in London.

Professor Sarah Jones – University of Gloucestershire

Professor Sarah Jones, an award-winning former ITV news anchor, is due to deliver her inaugural lecture at the University of Gloucestershire as its pro vice-chancellor, looking at her own extraordinary career in both the media and higher education.

Professor Jones, whose research focuses on future education and technology, including virtual reality and augmented reality, holds a PhD in Immersive Storytelling and has published extensively on VR and AR, while continuing to create immersive experiences.

Before moving into education, she won awards for her investigative and immersive reporting during her career in television news, which included a year seconded to New York to cover the 2008 US election for GMTV. During this time, she travelled extensively with the candidates and even appeared in the Sex and the City film!

Paul Cox and Kieran Smith – Crowe

Audit, tax, advisory and risk firm Crowe has promoted Paul Cox as a director within its corporate tax team and Kieran Smith as VAT and customs duty director.

Cox has been at Crowe for six years and has almost 20 years of experience in the accountancy profession, including more than a decade working at the firms within the sector’s 'Big Four' list of companies.

Smith has 23 years of experience, including three years spent working as a VAT inspector at HMRC, and has a particular focus on consulting in the not-for-profit sector.

Mark Bodley and Lee Nicholls – Freemans Events Partners

Freemans Events Partners has made two new appointments to its catering division, with Mark Bodley joining the firm as head of catering and Lee Nicholls as the new menu development manager.

Bodley has experience in hospitality and events; fine dining and Michelin Star restaurants; contract catering, as an independent hospitality consultant and event manager; and has worked with Team GB at its national sports centres, developing menus for the Tokyo Olympics.

Nicholls is a former serviceman with more than 20 years' experience as NATO’s senior global catering deployment manager and direct food safety advisor. During his time in the military, he also acted as a mentor for the combined services culinary arts team, assisting with the training and development of young talent within the armed forces.

Sarah Cook – Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce

Cheltenham Chamber of Commerce has elected Sarah Cook, the managing director and founder of Gloucestershire-based HR People Support, as its new president.

She succeeds Rob Duncan, who has served as the chamber’s president since 2021.

Michael Ratcliffe, chamber chief executive, said: ‘I am delighted that Sarah has been appointed chamber president and is someone who knows Cheltenham very well. She is an entrepreneur and understands the challenges facing both SMEs and large corporations.’

Tamsin Broster – Women's Business Club


The Women's Business Club, a professional network dedicated to empowering and supporting women in business, has announced the appointment of Tamsin Broster as its new south west director.

Broster will be responsible for leading the organisation's flagship events, including its annual women's business conference and awards.

She previously worked as a senior logistics lead within the Ministry of Defence and brings experience in planning, operations and executing events to her new role.

Deborah Lee – Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Deborah Lee, the chief executive of Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, has announced she will be standing down from what is one of the most high profile positions in the county.

Lee, who has been in the post for seven years – and saw the trust gain its first-ever 'Good' Care Quality Commission rating under her tenure in 2019, announced that she would be leaving her role in March 2024.

She said: ‘I shall look back with sadness at the impact of the pandemic on so many lives but also with immense pride on what we achieved during that period. I feel incredibly privileged to have had the opportunity to lead and to serve this great organisation through such a momentous time in the NHS's 75-year history.'

Simon Glover – Business Partnership

Business Partnership, the independent business brokers, has appointed Simon Glover as its new regional partner covering Gloucestershire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

Glover is no stranger to senior management or board level, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to the role with a focus on business sales, acquisitions and succession planning.

The Broadway-based businessman set up his first venture at the age of 26 in 1996, selling a range of stationery from a catalogue, being moving into the printing industry. He sold the business five years ago for £4 million and has since focused on sales and marketing as a consultant and advised on successful exits and acquisitions.

Ethan Rodgers – Pettifers Hotel

Pettifers Hotel in the Cotswolds has unveiled a new-look team for its kitchens.

Ethan Rodgers, formerly of The Wheatsheaf in Northleach and current executive for Cirencester Park Polo Club Brasserie and Beaufort Bistro, will work with chef Mark Bremner across all venues.

Between them, they can count numerous honours and accolades including AA Rosettes.

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