Michelle Robinson - Barton Willmore.
Matthew Neville

This week’s North East appointments

This week’s North East appointments include the introduction of a new COO for GB Bank, A new corporate and commercial addition for Ramsdens, and a new CEO for a Blyth based robotics specialist Tharsus.

Michelle Robinson - Barton Willmore

Planner Michelle Robinson has joined the Newcastle office of planning and design consultancy Barton Willmore.

The former planning team lead at Durham County Council is already working across Barton Willmore’s North East client base which spans residential and commercial developers, education providers, energy and minerals companies.

With more than 20 years’ experience, Michelle led the team that saw Durham’s Local Plan adopted in 2020.

Michelle said: “It’s an exciting time to join Barton Willmore, which is working with so many of the developers that are shaping the growth and regeneration of the region. I’m really enjoying bringing my public sector experience to high profile projects and working with the talented team here.

“2022 is sure to deliver more planning opportunities and challenges in the North East and we’re well placed to help meet them. That includes supporting local planning authorities where they have resourcing challenges and helping to facilitate timely delivery of homes by securing consents.”

James Hall, partner at Barton Willmore, added: “I’m delighted to welcome Michelle to the team. Her experience and insight into local authority planning is extremely valuable for our clients and brings a new dimension to our service offer.

“Michelle is widely respected across the region having collaborated with the House Builders Federation, among others, in recent years to prepare evidence for the Local Plan. We have a strong team of specialists here at Barton Willmore with experience with knowledge and understanding of a range of sectors.”

David Young - GB Bank

GB Bank, the New “Champion of the North” has welcomed a new member to the executive team. David Young joins as Chief Operating Officer (COO) to support the bank’s strategy to provide lending to underserved regions of the UK.

David will lead the bank’s operational function ensuring GB Bank’s customer proposition is underpinned by the right people, processes, data and technology.

Prior to joining GB Bank, David worked as COO at BFC Bank, where he navigated the organisation through the challenges of Covid-19. David’s experience in banking has also been gained from nine years at Metro Bank where he helped to scale the UK’s first new high street bank in over 100 years, and a number of senior roles at HBOS and Lloyds.

GB Bank recently announced it had secured its provisional banking licence making it the UK’s newest challenger bank. Positioned as the “go to bank” for property developers in the North, GB Bank will address the shortage of funding required to get Britain building again.

It will be a dedicated lender to SME property developers, focusing initially on the North East, Yorkshire and the North West, and will support the levelling up agenda.

Stephen Lancaster, Interim CEO at GB Bank, said: “David joins GB Bank at a pivotal moment as we build on the success of securing our banking licence and becoming the ‘go to bank’ for property developers. His strong track record of success in the customer and employee experience realm is impressive.”

David Young, COO at GB Bank, added: “I am delighted to be joining GB Bank at such an exciting time. GB Bank’s ambition to bring much needed financial support to property developers in underserved regions and make a positive and lasting change in the communities it serves were key factors in my decision to join the team.”

Sandra Crichton - Ramsdens

Ramsdens has to announced the appointment of Sandra Crichton, who has joined the Corporate and Commercial team.

The appointment significantly boosts the team, which is led by corporate lawyer Stephen Newman.

Sandra has over 23 years’ experience in mergers and acquisitions, re-organisations and investment and shareholders arrangements.

With her experience in high value and complex transactions gained in Manchester dealing with national and international clients, Sandra will complement the existing corporate team at Ramsdens.

Sandra said: “Joining Ramsdens is a fantastic opportunity to be part of a proactive and dynamic organisation and to contribute my cutting edge commercial approach to conclude deals efficiently. I am looking forward to growing the commercial team and its client base.”

Stephen Newman, partner and head of corporate and commercial, added: “I am very pleased that Sandra has joined our team. She has a wealth of experience and ability in the owner-managed sector and will add greatly to our offering.”

Claire Herworth - Resource Management Solutions Ltd

Resource Management Solutions Ltd (RMS) based on Victoria Road, Darlington, has hired a “head marketing wizard” to spearhead expansion and growth.

The experienced recruit, Claire Herworth, will lead on the company’s PR and digital content to increase brand awareness and enlist new business.

With a 10-year career in PR and marketing, Claire has worked for organisations including Durham Constabulary, Darlington Borough Council and the air ambulance service, and now wants to work her magic in the private sector.

Claire said: “I’m over the moon to be joining such a talented and established company at a key time in their journey. I want to improve their digital voice and build an engaged community.

“I’m a storyteller at heart and love creating stand-out content. Words are our most inexhaustible source of magic, to quote one of the nation’s most loved characters Harry Potter.”

Speaking of her wizardry job title, she said: “I thought we should zhuzh up the name a bit to be more memorable when networking. I asked to change manager to wizard and they said they love it. That’s when I knew they were the company for me.”

Business owner, Carole Martin, said: “Claire will play an integral part in helping our business grow in this newly created role and she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all things digital. Our roots go back more than 20 years, from a small base in Middlesbrough to offices around the UK, and our headquarters now in Darlington.

“We grow year on year, and I am incredibly proud of what we’ve achieved. I wish Claire a very warm welcome. Our people are what matter most.”

Joni Rautavuori - Tharsus

Tharsus Group, the parent company of advanced machines and robotics firm Tharsus and complex metal fabrication leaders Universal Wolf, today announces the appointment of Joni Rautavuori as its new chief executive officer.

Joni brings many years of experience running and scaling complex industrial automation organisations and his appointment represents an important point in the strategy to create a long-term sustainable future for Tharsus Group as well as drive the important next phase of growth.

As the Founder of Tharsus Group, Brian Palmer will continue to lead strategy and innovation, whilst supporting Joni in running the business.

Joni’s commercial experience is a strong complement to the engineering capability of the existing Tharsus Group team. He led ABB’s Global Robots & Solutions business from the UK between 2015 and 2020 and, as CEO, recently headed a group of early phase technology companies focused on sustainability.

Before this he played professional ice hockey in Finland, which gave him further insight into the importance of working together as a team in achieving goals. Joni also holds a Master’s degree from the University of Cambridge Manufacturing Leaders Programme.

Joni Rautavuori, CEO of Tharsus Group commented: “I am very glad to be joining Tharsus Group at an important time in its history as it looks to build on recent performance and drive new growth. Tharsus Group is a beacon of technical innovation with a reputation for being a values-led business, which strongly resonates with me.

“I believe the business and its people are well placed to help industry unlock transformative opportunities and I look forward to being part of its continued success.”

Brian Palmer, founder of Tharsus Group added: “Joni is the ideal person to deliver the next phase of growth for Tharsus Group as its new CEO and contributes impressive commercial experience in the manufacturing and robotics space.”

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