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BKR member UNW (Newcastle, United Kingdom) has further bolstered its expanding firm by making a raft of top appointments, including its 13th partner, a former Entrepreneurs’ Forum chief and a team to head up an innovative new service line.

The firm has taken on a former associate director and senior manager from global recruitment specialist Nigel Wright to lead its new Strategic Talent team, a unique move in the North-East professional services sector.

Peter Neal and Dave Bowman have been brought in to establish the complementary advisory service, which will help existing UNW clients grow their businesses by ensuring the right senior management team is in place to deliver the very business plans that UNW’s corporate finance, audit & assurance and tax experts help devise.

Meanwhile, Hazel Smith, who was born and bred in Newcastle, has relocated back to the city after being appointed Accounting Services Partner.

The Citygate firm, which has built its business advising some of the region’s best known entrepreneurs, has also attracted marketing and business development expert Nicola Short, who previously led the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, to help advise and review its own marketing, brand and communications strategy.

The new staff will all be supported by new Audit & Assurance PA Fiona Railson, who brings with her project management and office management experience.

UNW managing partner Andrew Wilson said: “It remains an exciting time for UNW and we believe that our robust record for growth over the last five or six years is underpinned by our ability to attract talent and we are delighted to welcome yet more top people to our firm.

“Our own business has grown off the back of helping North-East businesses grow and we hope the new Strategic Talent team will help ensure that even more of our clients maximise their growth potential by ensuring they have the right board and leadership team in place to deliver their business goals.”

Both Neal and Bowman have a raft of senior executive search experience, having spent 16 and 10 years respectively in the field.

UNW Head of Strategic Talent Peter Neal said: “We, as part of the business planning process, can fulfil an advisory role to help identify what the gaps might be in the leadership team, now and in the future.

“We don’t think there is any other professional services firm in the region with this in-house capability of identification, selection and appointment of leadership talent, such as board members and non-executive directors, and that was what was so attractive about joining UNW.”

New partner Hazel Smith, formerly a partner with Greaves West & Ayre in Berwick upon Tweed and a Durham University graduate, has been in general practice and is a qualified tax advisor, as well as a chartered accountant.

Accounting Services partner Hazel Smith said: “UNW is a very ambitious firm with a clear idea of where they have come from and where they want to go.

“That ambition and desire to grow is infectious and I felt it was a very good opportunity.”

Meanwhile Nicola Short was executive director of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum for three years until September 2014, when she stepped down to gain a better life balance between work and raising four children.

But UNW, which embraces flexible working, quickly spotted an opportunity to lure the marketing specialist, who has previously held senior roles at Sage plc, NGI and Newcastle Building Society, back to corporate life by tempting her with a part time Head of Communications role.

Short said: “UNW offered me a fantastic opportunity to work with a fast moving, innovative, entrepreneurial professional services firm while giving me the flexible balance with my family.

“UNW has grown exponentially in the region and I feel really excited, and value the opportunity, to work with such an experienced group of partners.”

The news comes after UNW further broadened its service offering into cloud accounting last year to allow business owners and managers to view their business’ current financial position and performance at any time.



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