Here we feature the latest appointments in Welsh business.
Trade credit insurer Atradius has appointed Oliver Ford as country manager based at its UK headquarters in Cardiff Bay.
Mr Ford returns to Cardiff after a decade, following senior roles in Hong Kong and London with the export finance group. With a degree in French, the Cardiff University graduate first joined Atradius in 2007 as a client services representative. Throughout his career at Atradius, his roles include business development management, and five years as global sales manager, leading new business for Atradius in London.
He has spent the last four years as regional sales director for Atradius in Asia, developing and supporting the implementation of new business and marketing strategies across 12 countries.
In his new role he will lead a team of senior account managers, providing the best possible personal service to Atradius’ multinational customers.
Mr Ford, who is originally from Pembrokeshire, said: “Atradius was an attractive firm to work for right from the beginning. It’s a large multinational with a fantastic location in Cardiff Bay, with opportunities to travel offering a different experience from the average company. Throughout my 14 years at Atradius, my horizons have expanded in every sense, I’ve always enjoyed being challenged, while being supported to progress to the next level in the organisation.
“As country manager, I’m proud to be part of a well-established global team. I’ve been delighted with a very warm welcome home both internally and from the wider market, and I look forward to ensuring Atradius continues to grow its reputation as the best-in-class provider for multinational credit insurance.”
Michael Westra, UK and Ireland regional director of Atradius Global, added: “Oliver’s expertise has developed over years of dedication to customer service both in the UK and internationally and his wealth of experience stands him in excellent stead to lead the global team. We’re pleased to welcome him back to the UK where we know he will drive service excellence for our customers and support future talent in the team.”
Atradius’ Cardiff HQ employs 327 on a hybrid working model.
Grant Thornton has announced further growth in its Wales and south west of England corporate finance advisory team after a strong period of deal activity.
The team has recruited Adam Hughes from the Natwest structured finance team to lead the debt advisory function and hired two young dealmakers, James Smart and Thomas Bew as lead advisory assistant managers.
With offices in Cardiff and Bristol, the Grant Thornton deals team led by partner Trefor Griffith and director Jamie Roberts, has had a record year, having advised on a range of high profile transactions including. This included advising the founders of Swansea-based licensed apparel and accessories company Character.com in securing a multi-million pound investment from BGF. It also acted on the sale, on behalf of Sodexo, of South Wales-based Tillery Valley Foods to private equity-backed food manufacturer Joubere, advised the founders of Cardiff-based specialist care group, Crusader Medical Care in exit to Envivo Group and lead strategic fund-raise for Pontypool-based Freight Logistics Solutions with the Development Bank of Wales.
Mr Griffith said: “We have a team of over 100 people advising on mid-market M&A nationally with a focus on key sectors and regions with Wales and the south-weest being one of those.
“We are delighted to have been able to add to our successful and high performing regional team with the recruitment of Adam, James and Thomas. It’s important that we keep on investing in the best talent to continue providing the highest possible levels of service as our clients seek to explore and realise opportunities presented by the current M&A environment.
“While there are challenges in some parts of the economy, there is also a lot of liquidity with private equity investors and corporates looking for high quality assets in the consumer, technology, food & beverage, human capital and healthcare sectors in particular.
Mr Roberts added: “There are some outstanding businesses in our region as proven by their ability to adapt and thrive over the last 18 months. Despite some obvious challenges inherent in the wider economy, our M&A activity has continued to intensify with valuations buoyed by high levels of market liquidity and competition for quality assets of scale.
“Indications are that 2022 will see a continuation of the healthy level of deal flow with a number of factors potentially driving this even harder than was experienced over the course of 2021.”
One of Wales’ leading technology firms, IQE, has revealed its new chief executive.
Americo Lemos, 54, will take up the role at the Cardiff headquartered and leading supplier of compound semiconductor wafer products and advanced material solutions to the global semiconductor industry , on January 10th.
He will succeed Dr Drew Nelson – who is retaining an advisory and ambassadorial role as a non-executive director with the title of president – at the helm of the Alternative Investment Market listed firm. His appointment follows an extensive search process led by Phil Smith, interim executive chairman of IQE.
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With over two decades of managerial experience working with multi-national tech companies, Mr Lemos will oversee the next growth phase of the business – capitalising on its position as the world’s leading of scale epitaxy wafer manufacturer.
He joins IQE from the executive team at GlobalFoundries (GF) Inc, a New York headquartered semiconductor designer and manufacturer. As GF’s senior vice president of business development for Asia Pacific and China country president, Americo has been responsible for driving the business’s efficiency and growth in these key markets.
Prior to this he held executive positions at technology companies including Qualcomm and Intel, having also worked at Flextronics, Texas Instruments and Skyworks, amongst others.
Mr Smith said: “The depth and breadth of Americo’s industry expertise make him the natural choice to take the business forward in its next stage of growth. His appointment will enable us to build on our solid global industry foundations and market-leading positions, and take advantage of key structural drivers and opportunities arising with the proliferation of 5G and the Internet of Things.
“Americo is the ideal leader to take over from IQE’s founder Dr Drew Nelson, who I would like to thank for his years of passion and dedication to building the company to its current global leadership position.”
Ms Lemos said: “I am hugely excited to be joining IQE, a business at the forefront of the UK’s high-tech manufacturing sector and one which I have long admired. I look forward to working with my new colleagues to ensure the business’s continued success and growth, and achieving our vision of being the best advanced semiconductor materials solutions company in the world.”
IQE employs 670 staff across nine manufacturing locations in the Cardiff, the US, Taiwan and Singapore.
Capital Law has announced promotions for 11 of its lawyers – with two become partners, two senior associates and seven associates.
The new partners, Lucy Emanuel and Céline Jones, are both commercial disputes lawyers.
Ms Emanuel, who joined the firm five years ago, specialises in professional negligence, professional indemnity, regulatory compliance, and data protection. She recently settled a multi-million pound claim against directors for wrongful trading and is advising on a related claim in negligence against auditors and accountants.
Ms Jones joined Capital in 2019. She has over ten years’ experience in cross-border litigation, and specialises in contract disputes, unfair prejudice claims, and breach of covenants. She is also the Honorary Consul of France in Cardiff and the co-founder and chair of Le Club, a Franco-Welsh Business Forum which aims to stimulate networking, partnership development and trading opportunities between organisations with French and Welsh links.
The new senior associates are Jonathan Walsh, an employment lawyer with niche expertise in education law – and Jordan Thomas, who since training at Capital has specialised in private equity, venture capital, and corporate governance.
Newly promoted associates include Kellsey Logue, Tod Davies, Carrie Gwyther, Clare Good, Rebecca Mahon, Angharad Jones and David Goodway.
Elin Pinnell, managing partner at Capital Law, said: “This is the largest promotions round we have ever done in our 15-year history. Part of this is because we’re growing as a firm: in just 12 months, we’ve gone from 145 colleagues to 187. But above all, these well-earned promotions are the result of a lot of hard work from 11 impressive lawyers who have grown themselves – both as trusted legal advisors and as trusted colleagues.”
Penarth headquartered point-of-care diagnostics firm, EKF , has appointed Marc Davies as its new chief financial officer (CFO).
Mr Davies, who will join the board as CFO from January, will succeed Richard Evans in the role. Mr Evans will remain at the Alternative Investment Market listed firm until next March to provide a suitable handover period.
Mr Davies is joining EKF from medical device designer, manufacturer and supplier Flexicare Medical, where he is currently group finance and operations director. He was previously a corporate finance director at PwC, providing mid-market private business and private equity focused corporate finance advice as head of the professional advisory firm’s Wales and west of England corporate finance team.
Christopher Mills, chairman of EKF, said: “I would like to take this opportunity to again thank Richard for more than ten years of service to the company, and for his efforts in ensuring continuity by remaining with us until the end of March.
“We are delighted to have Marc join EKF in the new year to support Mike Salter and the EKF team as we implement the next phases of our growth strategy looking out to 2024. Not only does Marc have strong sector experience managing both organic and acquisitive growth, but also a solid advisory background with a strong understanding of dynamic growth companies such as EKF.”
Caerphilly headquartered small business and co-working firm Town Square Spaces (TownSq) has appointed Jamie McGowan as its community director.
Mr McGowan, who has managed co-working spaces for a number of years, will be responsible for overseeing TownSq’s hubs across the south of the UK, including Llanishen, Bicester and Bognor Regis, as well as the three new spaces set to open in London.
Along with joining the board of directors, Mr McGowan will lead on the recruitment and support of each space’s community managers, as the company continues its expansion across the UK.
Mr McGowan said: “Having started my career in hospitality, I’ve always enjoyed working with people and building communities, so when the chance came to do that in some of the most interesting places across the country, I jumped at it.
“TownSq has such a varied offering in our southern spaces, whether it’s the UK’s first passive house plus workspace in Bicester, or our seaside coworking in Bognor Regis or the new London spaces; the ethos is the same – people working together to grow and succeed. I’m looking forward to this new challenge and I can’t wait to see the difference we can make to communities across the country.”
This news comes after TownSq reported winning six new contracts across the UK, resulting in additional revenue of £15m over the next five years.
Mandy Weston, COO and co-founder of TownSq said: “We first worked with Jamie a number of years ago when he supported us with our community management. Since founding TownSq, we always kept in touch and when this opportunity came up we knew that Jamie’s passion for people and his personable nature, coupled with his skills and experience was a natural fit.
“We’re very proud of our recruitment process which has helped us consistently hire talented people to support us. This means that as we grow, we can promote these passionate people who go on and help us do what we do best, across the UK. This doesn’t happen by accident of course, we work hard to be an attractive employer, and our status as a B Corp means being a responsible and empathetic employer is written into our business structure.
“We’re excited to see the impact Jamie can make across our communities as we continue to grow our portfolio of national spaces.”