L-R: Anna Thomas, Abi Owers and Jon Butler of Big Brand Ideas
Richard Bell

This week’s North West appointments

Abi Owers and Anna Thomas, Big Brand Ideas

Big Brand Ideas has appointed two senior directors, Abi Owers and Anna Thomas.

Abi, the company’s new head of engagement, was previously director of PR at the Manchester office of advertising agency McCann.

Anna Thomas, meanwhile, will lead Big Brand Ideas’ PR client strategy and delivery. She was previously head of PR at comms firm Golley Slater in Birmingham.

Abi said: “Everyone here understands the valuable role that PR skills can play in connecting brands with customers; we will work closely as a team to bring our experience to life across all channels.”

Jon Butler, Big Brand Ideas’ managing director, commented: “[Abi and Anna] bring with them a wealth of experience across a range of consumer and B2B sectors including retail, fashion, health and beauty, leisure and tourism, automotive, food and drink and the public sector.

“Their highly creative approach to PR and social media and a clear passion for delivering a measured solution was a natural fit for our business.”

Nick Helm, Squire Patton Boggs

Law firm Squire Patton Boggs has appointed an infrastructure project finance specialist as a partner in its Real Estate Practice.

Nick Helm, who previously worked for DLA Piper, advises sponsors, bidding consortia, contractors and subcontractors, funders and the public sector on project finance and public–private partnership schemes, particularly across the energy, education, defence, social housing, healthcare and emergency services sectors.

Squire Patton Boggs’ European head of real estate, Nick Green, said: “The expansion of the firm’s infrastructure and projects practice is of strategic importance to the firm.

“Nick Helm is a well respected all-round projects specialist who has advised on some of the country’s most complex PFI schemes.”

He continued: “His experience is complementary to the global services we have been developing in recent years, for instance through the appointment of Andrew Herring in rail, Robin Baillie and Philippa Chadwick in infrastructure, Neil Upton, John Danahy and Ian Wood in energy.”

Robin Saitz and Andrew Avanessian, Avecto

Avecto, the Manchester-based software giant, has added to its executive team with the appointment of Robin Saitz as chief marketing officer (CMO) and Andrew Avanessian as chief operating officer (COO).

Robin is the former CMO of software company Brainshark and senior vice president of global marketing and operations at PTC, where she worked for 25 years.

At Avecto, Robin will steer the firm’s marketing strategy from its US headquarters in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Andrew Avanessian, promoted from vice president of technology to COO, will be responsible for key operations within the business, including leading its international pre- and post-sales teams.

Paul Kenyon, Avecto’s co-CEO and co-founder, said: “The pace of growth we’ve experienced has been phenomenal and these key, strategic appointments will ensure that momentum continues.

“Robin brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience that is essential to building on and accelerating the growth of the business.”

He added: “Andrew has demonstrated drive, leadership, operational excellence, and innovation at every turn and those skills sat perfectly with our vision for a COO.”

Ewen Miller, RIBA North West

Cheshire architect Ewen Miller has been made chair of RIBA North West.

Having served on the RIBA North West regional council for the last seven years, Ewen will now take over from Mick Goode of Croft Goode Architects.

Ewen, managing director of Altrincham-based Calderpeel Architects, said: “I want to continue the excellent work already done by Mick during his term.

“For me this role is about trying to promote fairness in all areas of the profession. I want to continue to ensure RIBA is relevant to its members.”

He continued: “I want to celebrate and champion the achievements of all practices large and small and build a greater profile for our architects at a national level, giving the region the recognition it deserves.”

RIBA regional director Andrew Ruffler commented: “We’re delighted for Ewen and he assumes the position at an important time with strategic issues such as housing, the impact of Brexit, the devolution agenda, and the role of metro mayors being key to the profession.

“RIBA North West looks forward to working with Ewen to continue to deliver an innovative and relevant programme of activity for the profession right across the region.”

Ewen, who qualified as an architect in 1992, will now serve as chair of RIBA North West for two years.

Martin Blaylock, Bromleys

Law firm Bromleys has recruited a new property solicitor.

Martin Blaylock, joining the Tameside practice from Cumbria’s Bell Park Kerridge Solicitors, is now part of Bromleys’ corporate and commercial services team.

In his new role, Martin will advise clients on commercial property, conveyancing and landlord and tenant matters.

Bromleys partner Paul Westwell, who leads the firm’s corporate and commercial team, said: “We have seen a significant increase in new instructions and further recruitment has been necessary to service the needs of our clients.

“Martin has relocated from Carlisle to join us and will be a valued addition to the team. He has a varied background and will fit in well with our client-focused culture.”

Martin commented: “Bromleys has an excellent reputation with clients and the local business community, and I’m delighted to have been given the opportunity to join the firm.”

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