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Practice News: New managing partner for James Cowper

28th Feb 2014
Editorial team AccountingWEB.co.uk
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A round-up of the latest news, executive moves and acquisitions from the world of practice during February 2014. 

New managing partner for James Cowper


27 Feb - Robert Holland will take over the role from 1 May 2014 from Steve Clarke, who has been managing partner for six years. 

The firm has offices in Reading, Newbury, Henley, Oxford, Southampton and London, with 14 partners and 170 staff.  

Commenting on his election to the role of Managing Partner Robert Holland said: “It is a real privilege to lead this great firm. The knowledge and expertise my colleagues hold is second to none and is at the heart of the firm’s success.

“I would also like to extend the gratitude and thanks from all of my colleagues to Steve. Steve has done a terrific job in driving the firm forward over the past six years through tough trading conditions.”


Two new partners for Thomas Westcott

25 Feb - The firm, which has 13 offices in the South West, has appointed two new partners. 

Chris Hill previously worked at Baker Tilly and RSM Tenon and has almost 25 years' experience in his sector.

Hill specialises in professional practices and in advising businesses in the manufacturing and technology sector. He also has experience seeking finance/refinancing businesses.

In addition, Ian Huggett joins the firm as partner from Simpkins Edwards in North Devon. He has worked initially in tax based roles and more recently advising non-agricultural businesses and their owners.

Huggett specialises in VAT and VAT planning, issues surrounding business sustainability and small business acquisitions and disposals.

He is also a long term member of both the ICAEW Tax Faculty and Audit and Assurance Faculty.


Menzies appoints new director

24 Feb - Menzies Business Recovery, the recovery and insolvency arm of accountancy firm Menzies, has appointed David Thurgood as director.

He joins the firm from Grant Thornton and has nearly 30 years' experience working on receiverships, administrations and liquidations across a number of sectors, particularly in leisure, property and construction.

In his new role, Thurgood will assist directors and companies in identifying issues and implementing solutions to achieve restructuring, recovery or refinancing.


RSM Tenon London offices shut 

20 Feb - 300 staff from the former Tenon offices moved to Baker Tilly's Farringdon Street offices last week. 

The move is the first of about a dozen office consolidations throughout the UK in the near future.

It follows the merger with RSM Tenon in August 2013. Over the next few months, offices where both firms have a presence will merge, including in Manchester, Birmingham, Milton Keynes, Basingstoke, Leeds and Stoke.


New managing partner for Mitchell Charlesworth 

19 Feb - The North West firm has appointed long-standing partner Paul Wainwright to head it up.

The firm has offices in Liverpool, Manchester, Chester, Warrington and Widnes.

Wainwright will focus on sectors including retail, medical, professional services, social housing, not-for-profit and manufacturing.

He takes over from David Darlington, who led the business for more than 25 years through multiple mergers and acquisitions, and managed its expansion opening new offices in Manchester and Chester.

Wainwright said that the firm's future is focussed on strengthening its tax service and adopting new technologies such as cloud-based products.


New oil & gas chief for Johnston Carmichael

17 Feb - Fast-growing Scottish firm Johnston Carmichael has appointed Graham Alexander to lead its oil and gas industry group.

Aberdeen-based Alexander has a corporate finance partner who joined the firm when it merged with Ritson Smith in 2012. He has more than 20 years’ experience working with oil and gas service companies.

“The oil and gas service sector is one of the largest industry groups in our firm, therefore knowing the issues and opportunities which our clients face in the industry is critical in helping us give practical and valuable advice across all of our business lines, such as tax and corporate finance,” said  Johnston Carmichael CEO Sandy Manson.

Alexander himself said that North Sea exploration and production was continuing to create global opportunities, particularly for companies that exported know-how and technology from the region. “Our membership of the PKF Oil and Gas group gives us the ability to serve our oil and gas clients as they expand globally,” he added. 

* * *

Baldwins picks up 110-year-old firm

6 Feb - Midlands-based accounting firm Baldwins Accountants has acquired Griffith & Griffith, a fourth-generation firm based in Sutton Coldfield.

Baldwins will retain staff at the firm, which is its 17th acquisition in total, while the insolvency side of the practice will continue to be run by George Griffith as George H W Griffith Limited.

George Griffith steps away from the general practice after 37 years with the firm - which was founded by his great grandfather Captain George Griffith in 1903.

Griffith said: “I am pleased Baldwins has acquired the business because there are many similarities between the companies as we are both family orientated and have an identical ethos to business.

“Baldwins has expanded beyond belief and I know my clients, many of whom have become friends over the years, are in good hands for all their accountancy needs and will receive up-to-date and pro-active advice,” he said.

He will initially remain as a consultant with the practice and lead his insolvency business on a part-time basis.

* * *

Cheltenham tax team joins Smith & Williamson

4 Feb - Smith & Williamson has taken on a four-person private client tax team in Cheltenham, led by Louise Somerset who joins the firm as partner.

At the same time Krista Woodman has been appointed associate director, along with Daniel Gadd, as assistant tax manager, and Emma Robinson who is a tax trainee.

The team joins from RBC's Wealth Planning Division where Louise and Krista were working together for eight years. Daniel and Emma joined the team five and two years ago, respectively.

They specialise in advising high net worth individuals and has particular experience in working with internationally mobile families, including non-domiciles, and assisting them with tax, trusts and international pension arrangements.

Somerset said: “We are thrilled to be joining Smith & Williamson with its strong professional reputation for advice on tax and financial matters. This is an exciting opportunity for myself and the team and we look forward to developing the name of Smith & Williamson in Cheltenham, the Cotswolds and further afield, using our experience in UK and international tax matters.“

* * *

Knights Lowe acquires Stacey & Partners

1 Feb- Both firms will now operate under the Knights Lowe name.

Stacey & Partners now becomes a trading division of Knights Lowe, operating from offices in Bury St Edmunds, Thetford and Newmarket. 

The firm is now the biggest independent firm in Bury St Edmunds, with over 50 staff.

One of the first moves of the newly merged firms will be to create a new specialist tax team, according to Stacey & Partners managing director Mark Wallace. 

Knights Lowe was first formed in 1987. Its last big move was into bigger offices in Suffolk Business Park to accommodate its growth in 2001. 

* * *

New tax partner and audit head for Baker Tilly

1 Feb - The firm has hired Chris Sparkes as tax partner, and Eric Solomons as head of audit in the North-West.

Sparkes comes from BDO and has over 23 years’ accountancy experience with both large and small clients.

He specialises in corporate and shareholder tax planning in sectors including hotels and leisure, real estate and construction and football clubs.

Sparkes is the latest addition to the firm's Gatwick office, which was created from the merger of Baker Tilly's Crawley and Hove offices last year.

In addition, the firm has appointed Eric Solomons as head of audit for the North-West region.

Solomons joined Baker Tilly in April last year, having also previously worked for BDO.

He has nearly 30 years’ experience within the audit sector, advising businesses across a number of industry sectors particularly real estate and construction, recruitment, professional practices and retail/wholesale distribution.

In his new role, Eric will lead Baker Tilly’s audit team across the region.

* * *

New tax consultancy and partners for UHY Hacker Young

1 Feb - The firm has started 2014 with a raft of changes, including acquiring Iain A Prentice.

Its Scottish firm, Campbell Dallas LLP, acquired the Aberdeen-based tax consultancy this month, bringing on board five new faces.

The network also announced the appointment of several new partners and one internal promotion:

  • Simon Browning joins the Nottingham office as a tax partner. He has more than 15 years’ experience at top four and top 10 firms
  • Matthew Hodgson joins the Manchester office as tax partner. He specialises in corporate tax issues, including tax aspects of corporate M&A restructurings. Hodgson joins from a specialist automotive practice
  • Michael Avient joins as partner in the London office’s private client services team. He has experience with complex tax planning and resolving enquiries and investigations. Avient has previously held senior roles within large firms and has written for tax publications
  • Daniel Hutson was appointed audit director in the firm’s London office and has worked for UHY Hacker Young since 2011
  • Graham Alexander, Ian Craig and Greig McKnight all became partners in Campbell Dallas through internal promotion

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