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17.07.2015
UNW (Newcastle) helps housebuilder grow sales
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Family-run house builder Cussins is fuelled to grow its business almost six-fold to £40m in the next four years after BKR International member firm UNW helped find a new face to add to its expanding senior management team.

Northumberland-based Cussins’ new finance director Richard Lowry, who was introduced by chartered accountants UNW’s unique Strategic Talent division, shares the company ambition to grow turnover from £7m currently to £40m in 2019.

Established in the 1920s, the Alnwick-based fourth generation house builder hopes its growing team of senior management will allow it to expand to building around 250 homes a year and growing its 30-strong workforce “significantly” over the next few years.

Rather than using a traditional recruitment consultant, Cussins, which has a long standing relationship with UNW as a tax and audit client, called on the Newcastle-based firm’s unique new Strategic Talent advisory team, and the firm’s deep understanding of its business, when it needed to further bolster its leadership.

Cussins chief executive Jabin Cussins said: “Cussins is embarking on a significant growth phase which will see the business increase turnover and expand both our on-site and office-based teams significantly over the next few years.

“As a rapidly expanding business it was crucial that we found the right finance director, a team player motivated by a shared desire to grow the business.

“UNW’s energy and enthusiasm proved key, not only in building a high quality short list of candidates but, crucially, in identifying those that they felt would work well with our team and thrive in a fast-growing business.”

Mr Lowry, whose family owned the historic North East based building contractor J & W Lowry for 150 years, was former commercial finance manager at energy and property development company Banks Group and finance director at Newcastle’s Warmseal Windows.

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UNW head of Strategic Talent advisory services Peter Neal said: “We are approaching the end of quite a remarkable six months since we launched this unique new service line.

“Richard’s appointment is a great example of how UNW is helping both new and long standing clients, who are planning for or delivering growth, to build back-able boards and is providing a more value adding alternative to traditional executive search.

“We wish Cussins every success and look forward to working closely with them as they build their business and workforce exponentially over the next few years.”

UNW took on two former senior managers, with 25 years’ executive search experience within the region between them, from global recruitment specialist Nigel Wright at the beginning of this year to lead the new Strategic Talent team, a unique move in the North-East professional services sector.

Peter Neal and Dave Bowman were brought in to establish the complementary advisory service, helping private and family SMEs, charities and social enterprises, who value expertise and flexibility above scale and process, to plan for and deliver growth.

As well as Cussins’ new finance director, the team has already facilitated several board appointments including: introducing a managing director to a high profile engineering business after it was bought out; putting a chief finance officer into a multi-site retailer as part of a five-year exit strategy for its owners; placing a commercial director into a growing healthcare service provider and finding a chair and trustees for two regional charities as part of their governance development.

Since it was set up in the 1920s, Cussins has built 55,000 homes spanning a number of generations. The most high profile of its developments include Gosforth’s Moor Court and Greystoke Park, Whalton Park in Northumberland and Willoughby Park, Alnwick.

It focusses on smaller developments ranging from 12 to 70 homes, with the average being around 40. Its area of operation is centred on Newcastle and extends from the North York Moors to Alnwick and across to Haydon Bridge.  In December 2014 Cussins secured a £5m investment from the Business Growth Fund and a Revolving Credit Facility from Lloyds Bank.

Mr Cussins added: “We are very fortunate to have a built up a first class workforce both on and off-site. All are very much united by their passion for the homes we build, it is essential that this is carried forward as we expand.”

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