David Dignam, Sigma Group.
Jane Imrie

This week's Yorkshire appointments

David Dignam, Sigma Group

Outsourcing provider Sigma Group has appointed David Dignam as group CEO.

In the newly created position, David will lead the Sigma Group executive team, ensuring the growth of the business through the implementation of a framework of strategic priorities within both existing and new market sectors.

David joins Sigma from ITAB UK, where he led the UK arm of the Swedish Group’s business. With a strong international business background, he brings experience in transforming physical retail spaces, coupled with a proven track record in the leisure, hospitality, as well as food and beverage sectors.

Jonathan Haigh, chairman of Sigma Group, said: “David brings a wealth of experience and considerable knowledge to Sigma.

“His strategic approach will enable us to ensure Sigma Group is well-positioned to support our customer needs and grow the business at this pivotal moment in the recovery and evolution of the UK retail landscape.”

David added: “I’m excited to join Sigma at such a pivotal time, as our relevancy to the market has increased significantly. We have delivered a variety of amazing new dining experiences lately with leading brands entering the UK market, as well as continually evolving the way we work with our established clients.

“There is exciting growth within the Sigma Group this year, and our ability to continually grow, adapt and lead across our key market sectors is a true strength of the business.”

Natalie Smith, The Engine Room

Strategic brand consultancy The Engine Room has appointed Natalie Smith as senior artworker.

Natalie brings with her more than 15 years of professional design experience and project management knowledge, having worked on global projects for Electronic Arts – including FIFA and The Sims – as well as Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo, and Universal Pictures.

Natalie will play an integral role in helping to deliver campaign assets for brands spanning sectors including healthcare, manufacturing, tech and the public sector.

The Engine Room’s managing director Lesley Gulliver commented: “Natalie has a vast amount of experience and has worked on some major creative projects in B2B sectors, but also gaming, television and film that will really bolster our service offering.

“We’re already beginning to see the impact she’s making on our clients’ projects and collaborations with employees. This is an exciting time to be a part of our sector as organisations continue to develop their propositions and review how their identities are perceived by customers.”

Natalie added: “There have been some really positive movements in terms of enterprises embracing modern-day society and tackling issues that have an impact on us all – in particular, how vital it is for us to build more diverse and inclusive workforces.

“Although there’s still a long way to go, brand can be the catalyst for societal change because it has the power to make us think differently and truly challenge what was once considered ‘the norm’.

“Everyone has been so welcoming. There are no egos and colleagues are encouraged to provide valuable input, and a personalised, expert touch to all projects. I think that’s what makes The Engine Room so special when it comes to true design thinking.”

Rich Hare, Lucy Beddard, Luke Parkin, Charlotte Sinclair, Jon Vickers and Abi Morgan, HOP

Estate agency HOP has made six new appointments to its new Horsforth office.

Rich Hare joins as sales manager, Lucy Beddard has been appointed as senior sales negotiator, Luke Parkin and Charlotte Sinclair have both joined as property managers, Jon Vickers has joined the lettings team to carry out rental viewings and Abi Morgan has been appointed as marketing executive.

Rich brings more than 10 years’ local experience to the role after managing the Horsforth office of a national estate agency firm and more recently heading up the Guiseley branch of another estate agent.

Lucy has spent the last four years working at two other Leeds-based estate agents.

Both Luke and Charlotte have a range of industry experience liaising with landlords, tenants and contractors.

Jon previously worked at John Lewis in Leeds city centre, but a keen interest in property drove him to pursue a career change.

Abi Morgan has been appointed into HOP’s marketing team and is responsible for planning and executing marketing initiatives including community engagement, sponsorship and digital marketing.

Luke Gidney, managing director at HOP, commented: “Our expansion into the hugely popular Leeds suburb of Horsforth, combined with our fresh approach to property marketing, has been very well received by the local community.

“Welcoming Abi, Jon, Charlotte, Luke, Lucy and Rich to our team enables us to provide sellers, buyers, landlords and tenants with the high standard of service and local expertise that we are renowned for.

“The fact that we’ve attracted people of their calibre, with vast amounts of property and customer service expertise, speaks volumes about our ambitions in Horsforth as well as our proactive approach to selling, buying and renting homes.”

Chris Sheard, Martin Walsh Architectural (MWA)

Martin Walsh Architectural (MWA) has appointed Chris Sheard as senior technician.

Chris returns to MWA 23 years after starting his career with the Dewsbury based RIBA chartered firm of architects.

In his new role, Chris will work within the team’s commercial, industrial and retail sectors, delivering all architectural services from supporting clients with planning applications through to project completion.

Chris commented: “I am really pleased to be returning to the company that helped me launch my career back in 1998. I initially joined MWA for work experience while studying for my BTEC in Construction. I soon took a permanent position, which I enjoyed for three years before embarking on new opportunities.

“I’m returning to a senior role and am looking forward to sharing the skills and experiences that I have developed while working for leading, nationally recognised brands and in delivering a wide range of industrial and commercial buildings.”

Managing director of MWA, Martin Walsh, added: “Back in 1998, Chris impressed us with his enthusiasm and talent. His passion for his trade was infectious and this has not changed.

“We are excited to welcome Chris back. He brings a great deal of knowledge and unrivalled experience that will complement our team and add further value to our business and our clients.”

Gary Biggs, Fulcrum

Multi-utility infrastructure and services provider Fulcrum has appointed Gary Biggs as contracts operations manager.

Joining the company after more than 33 years’ service at SSE, Gary will lead the Meter Exchange, Meter Operator (MOP) and Meter Asset Manager (MAM) activities for Fulcrum’s portfolio of smart metering contracts.

Gary has been involved in metering for the majority of his career and has overseen the installation of more than 1.5 million smart meters across the UK.

Gary moved into the emerging smart metering sector in 2012, which included introducing the first dual fuel skilled team into SSE. He progressed to national smart meter operations manager leading the team to install the first 185,000 SSE smart meters across England, Scotland and Wales.

Gary also established a National Smart Metering Academy, producing an industry-standard mentor selection and training process.

Gary commented: “I am keen to share my skills and experience to build upon the excellent progress Fulcrum has made in smart metering in a relatively short space of time.

“We have a talented team made up of knowledgeable, customer-focused people whose close partnerships with energy suppliers ensures effective project delivery.

“I have been impressed with the ambition, honesty and transparency that exists in Fulcrum. Its structure encourages collaboration across the team, which is evident in the levels of service and efficiencies and ensures the business can remain agile and responsive to changing markets and customer requirements.”

Tim Houtby, director of smart metering at Fulcrum, added: “Since we launched our smart meter operations in 2019 it has become a key element of the business and our contribution to supporting a low carbon future for the UK.

“Gary’s expertise and market knowledge will be of real benefit to our growing portfolio of energy supplier customers as we deliver on more projects and increase our position in the market.”

Steve Hickey, Ellers Farm Distillery

Ellers Farm Distillery has appointed Steve Hickey as sales director.

Steve is a veteran of the alcoholic drinks industry, with a background in both sales and marketing roles at Heineken and Molson Coors. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the newly formed company.

Steve joins the firm from Intercontinental Brands, where he was instrumental in launching Slingsby Gin and the TW Kempton Gin Liqueurs range into the off-trade.

Andy Braithwaite, Ellers Farm managing director, commented: “We are delighted to welcome someone with Steve’s abilities and experience to boost our leadership team and continue our work to build new brands with sustainability and the environment at their heart.”

Speaking of his new role, Steve added: “I’m excited to be joining such a forward-thinking company like Ellers Farm.

“I’ve always admired companies that put the environment front and centre in their business practices, so when offered the opportunity to join the Ellers Farm team it instantly appealed to me and I can’t wait for this exciting journey.”

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