Gloucestershire business appointments round-up: February 2023

From a new managing director of a fast-growing managed IT firm to a new boss at a rising star of the county's growing army of cyber firms and a host of new names on the New Cheltenham Economic Advisory Board, there are plenty of movers and shakers in the Gloucestershire business community to mention for February 2023.

By Andrew Merrell  |  Published
New faces, changes of leadership, growth and rising stars all make up this month's pick of Gloucestershire appointments.

Every month SoGlos takes a look across Gloucestershire's thriving business community to highlight key appointments and every month there are some surprises!

From announcing new leadership at the top of a local IT success story to changes in shopping centre management and legal appointments, here is SoGlos's pick for February 2023.

Todd Gifford

Todd Gifford has become the new managing director of Gloucestershire-based specialist Optimising IT.

Gifford, previously technical director for the Twigworth-headquartered business, brings years of experience in the sector to the role of the fast-growing firm which serves businesses in Gloucestershire, nationwide and abroad.

‘Since joining Optimising IT in 2015, I have been supporting the team in different roles. I have been responsible for operations and marketing since late 2020 and it’s a natural progression for me to step into the role of managing director this year,’ said Gifford.

‘These are exciting times at Optimising IT as we continue to progress the business in all areas and continue our growth this year and into the future.’

Nancy Battell and Richard Holland

Willans LLP solicitors has welcomed two new associate solicitors to the highly rated real estate and corporate and commercial teams.

Nancy Battell, brings more than 20 years’ transactional knowledge and skill across all aspects of commercial property to the Cheltenham-based firm. As well as acting for landlords and tenants, she is well versed in commercial leasehold and freehold acquisitions and disposals.

Richard Holland joins Willans’ Legal 500-rated corporate and commercial team.

Holland has more than a decade of experience advising on a wide range of commercial legal needs for a varied client-base. Originally from Cheltenham, he joins from St. Helena in the South Atlantic where he was working in-house as a commercial solicitor for the island’s government. He is also a trustee and director of several UK-based charities.

Geoff Smith

Gloucester Brewery has appointed Geoff Smith as its new managing director.

Smith, also the chairman of Twigworth-headquartered managed IT firm Optimising IT, was appointed as the brewery gears up for its next phase of growth.

His arrival coincides with more investment at the dockside business, which already has the backing of shareholders including Gloucester Rugby Club owner Martin St Quinton.

Founder of Gloucester Brewery, Jared Brown, moves into the role of chairman.

Jemma Jones

Cheltenham based BPE Solicitors has announced that partner Jemma Jones has become the leader of its family team.

The appointment coincides with former team leader Helen Cankett’s appointment as deputy district judge and enables the latter to divide her time more evenly between her judicial role and her practice at BPE.

Jones has been at BPE for more than 10 years and ‘is known for her robust, pragmatic advice on both financial and children matters’.

The firm said its family team had gone from strength to strength over the last six years and now also includes partner, Rebecca Pike, and associate, Hannah Mills.

Jack Simpson

Stroud’s Five Valleys shopping centre has welcomed Jack Simpson to head up the team and drive the centre forward at an important stage of its redevelopments.

Simpson, who has eight years experience in shopping centre management, will be supporting the centre through its final phases of redevelopment and the raft of new businesses that have recently opened, as well as playing a key role in driving the success of the popular indoor market.

He has managed and run  shopping centre in nearby Gloucester, lives in Cheltenham with his family, and has what owner Dransfield Properties calls ‘the perfect understanding of what shoppers and visitors are looking for when they shop, eat and spend time in the area’.

Jennifer Blogg and Dalia Kay

Women’s Business Club is pleased to announce the appointment of Jennifer Blogg and Dalia Kay as non-executive directors of the company.

Blogg, a mother-of-three, has more than 20 years experience working across a range of commercial roles and Kay, a mother of two sets of twins, has worked as a portfolio manager in the trade finance sector for over 28 years.

The club exists to empower women to succeed in business and meet across the globe in various venues ranging from hotels, pubs, and even banks and corporate offices. It supports everyone from start-up entrepreneurs to those working in the corporate sector.

Ed Bussey

Cheltenham based cybersecurity consultants and software development company Red Maple Technologies, has appointed Ed Bussey as a director to help with its growth and strategy.

Founded in 2018 by ex-government and defence engineers, Red Maple Technologies has grown from a strictly cybersecurity consultancy to include the development of a range of cybersecurity SaaS (software-as-a-service) products.

Its latest product FractalScan Surface, was used to help Which? test a range of consumer brands cybersecurity posture.

Serial entrepreneur Bussey has experience scaling businesses for growth. He started his career in the military, serving operationally for 14 years with the UK government around the world in the national security and counter terrorism field.

Sarah Brewster

The director of Gloucestershire hotel Stonehouse Court has been selected as the new chairwoman of The Stroud Tourism Forum.

Sarah Brewster will now lead the charge in promoting tourism across each of the district’s towns and surrounding areas – while also serving as a sustainability champion for Visit Gloucestershire alongside Slimbridge, Westonbirt and Stroud Brewery.

Taking over the role from Hannah McDonnell, who now acts as sustainability and social value lead for Visit Gloucestershire, Brewster will work in tandem with vice chair, Tony Davey, also chairman of Stroud Chamber of Commerce, to offer opportunities for businesses and key stakeholders to share best practice and help shape the Stroud Tourism strategy over the next five.

New Cheltenham Economic Advisory Board

Cheltenham Borough Council has announced a raft of appointments to the new Cheltenham Economic Advisory Board.

The board is hosted by the council with an independent chair, Diane Savory OBE DL, and will act as an expert leadership body to guide, challenge, and support the council in developing economic policy and actions.

Through consultation and conversation with the wider business community, board members will also identify challenges and opportunities for Cheltenham’s economy.

New names in the frame include Nigel Jobson, of Maybe*, Ian George and Ali Mawle, of Cheltenham Festivals, Kristine Scott, of Harrison Clark Rickerbys' Cheltenham office, Dorian Wragg, of Bruton Knowles and GFirst LEP Board member, Rob Loveday, advanced engineering and manufacturing specialist, Clare Borne, from CyNam, Kamal Bechkoum, head of the School of computing and engineering at the University of Gloucestershire, and Tom Dunn, senior surveyor at HBD, part of the Golden Valley Development team.

Amy Townend

Cheltenham-based communications agency, Target, has promoted Amy Townend, 19, after she passed her apprenticeship with flying colours.

Townend joined Target as a PR and communications apprentice in September 2021 and during the last 15 months has worked in the firm while also studying one day a week at Cirencester College.

Sarah Bryars, Target’s chief executive, said: ‘It’s been fantastic to see Amy progress over the past year. The whole team has watched her grow in confidence. We’re thrilled that she’s staying on with us.'

Townsend achieving a double distinction in her assessments and has been promoted to account executive.

Anna Vaughan and Di Cronin

Iwan Lewis, Barn Theatre’s artistic director, said the venue was thrilled to reveal Anna Vaughan has as its new head of fundraising and Di Cronin as its new relationship manager.

Vaughan has run her own fundraising consultancy, Glow Fundraising, for the last eight years, with clients including Sadler’s Wells, Bush Theatre, Kiln Theatre, Chickenshed, The BRIT School and Eclipse Theatre.

She was also director of development at British Youth Music Theatre, a national musical theatre company for young people and head of trusts at the National Theatre for nearly 10 years where she raised almost £20 million.

Cronin comes to the Barn from outside the theatre industry, having worked primarily in FMCG, and latterly ran her own consultancy offering sales and marketing expertise to both major national manufacturers and SMEs in the food industry.

Sam Shutt

One of the unsung heroes of Gloucestershire's business community, and a woman who has helped establish a brand that has become a success story in a crowded and hyper competitive market place, has stepped down.

The brainchild of Superdry founder, Julian Dunkerton, SOHO Coffee Co was bought out 17 years ago by Penny Manuel and business partner Chris Copner, who then took the company on a journey of considerable growth, turning it into the 40-strong outlet it is today.

The firm was headquartered in Cheltenham until 2015, when Manuel and Copner sold a majority stake to BTC, with Manuel staying on as managing director; until now. Both she and Copner have now departed the company.

SoHo has also announced the appointment of Sam Shutt to its board.

Nathaniel Hooton

Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service has announced Nathaniel Hooton as its new deputy chief fire officer.

Hooton has ‘an extensive career portfolio’ within the fire and rescue service amounting to over 22 years of experience, including senior roles in emergency response and planning, resilience, business continuity, corporate risk management and multi-agency led community safety.

He began his career with Cornwall Fire and Rescue Service, and has spent the last five-and-a-half years with Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service as a strategic leader and incident commander.

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