People on the Move: ArchiPhonic; Brabners; Essity; KPMG; Prolific North; Davis Blank Furniss

From left: Allan Yeates, Grace Costello, Dave Banister, Ioanna Tsakanika and Adam Mokhtar

Liverpool architectural design firm ArchiPhonic is celebrating its sixth year in business by expanding its team from three to five and revealing a new website.

The company has appointed architectural designer Allan Yeates and office administrator Grace Costello to support its expanding client base and influx of new projects.

In the past 12 months the independent practice has been instructed on 84 new projects in the residential and commercial sectors and reported a 78% increase in turnover.

Bringing more than a decade’s experience in the industry to the team, including a stint with renowned international practice Benoy, Allan has worked extensively in the residential sector, as well as in large scale mixed-use projects and commercial design for the food and catering industries.

Allan said: “ArchiPhonic is very different to other practices. The team is young, ambitious and constantly challenges the usual approach to deliver work that is always different and really enhances lives.

“That is what attracted me to the role and I am looking forward to combining my experience and vision with that of the existing team to elevate its work and help to grow the business even further.”

First class graduate Grace Costello joins the team as office administrator with responsibility for the day-to-day organisation of the team and as first point of contact for clients.

Grace studied Modern History and Politics at the University of Liverpool and developed a love of architecture when writing her dissertation on Modernist architecture in Liverpool in a political context.

Grace said: “Joining the ArchiPhonic team is an incredible opportunity for me to embrace a role that I love, and work collaboratively alongside a really innovative team in a field that I have always had a deep interest in.”

The two join architect Ioanna Tsakanika and ArchiPhonic directors Adam Mokhtar and Dave Banister, who founded the ambitious young practice in 2012.

Its conceptual architectural design work is rooted in principles derived from music and concepts taken from other disciplines, to deliver solutions that improve and enhance lives.

Adam said: “Both Allan and Grace bring valuable skills and new ideas to the practice that will support our ambitious growth plans for the business, as well as sharing our vision and values.”

Dave added: “In the six years since we established ArchiPhonic we have seen our sector and the city of Liverpool itself change dramatically, which has made for an exciting journey.

“Now, with our expanded team, new website and bold growth strategy, we’re looking forward to another busy 12 months, with significant new projects about to begin and exciting work in the pipeline.”


Independent legal practice, Brabners, has announced a number of significant appointments in its real estate team as it continues to invest for growth.

Paul Firth has joined the firm as head of real estate, along with senior associates Matthew Barnes, Usha Sharma and Helen Burns.

The appointments mark the latest step in the implementation of the firm’s strategy and builds on the strength of its existing property and construction practice, represented by a team of more than 100 people across the firm’s three offices.

From left: Robert White, Paul Firth and Nik White

Paul has more than 33 years’ experience in the commercial property market, where he has a particular expertise in advising developers, major institutions, both public and private, and large companies on large scale property schemes.

He is the former UK managing partner at DLA Piper and the former national head of real estate at Irwin Mitchell, a position that saw him triple the size of the practice in just four years.

With a combined experience of more than 30 years, Matthew, Usha and Helen join the firm from Kier Group, Hill Dickinson and BLP, respectively.

Together they bring a wealth of experience in commercial property and real estate finance, and will work closely with Paul and the team to support the firm’s current client base, identify new market opportunities and accelerate growth.

Paul said: “Brabners has undergone a step-change in recent months and joining the firm at such an exciting time is a fantastic opportunity. The firm is already renowned for its expertise in the property and construction market and the calibre of the clients it supports is a clear sign of its pedigree in this market.”

Nik White, managing partner of Brabners, added: “Our firm is built around people and investing in the best talent is fundamental to ensuring we continue to deliver the highest-quality service to our clients.

“Paul is one of the UK’s most highly-regarded real estate lawyers and bringing him on board alongside Matthew, Usha and Helen is true statement of intent for the firm.”

These appointments are the latest in a series of senior lateral hires announced by Brabners in recent months and follow the appointment of corporate partner Jon Close and financial litigation partner Phil Sheard.

Brabners operates from offices in Liverpool, Manchester and Preston.


Essity, the health and hygiene brand behind successful brands Bodyform, TENA, Plenty, Cushelle and Velvet, has announced the appointment of Daniel Minney as head of the consumer goods business unit in the UK & ROI.

Daniel Minney

Minney joins from Coty, where he most recently held the post of general manager UK &ROI.

He has acquired extensive leadership and commercial experience during several senior management roles, both domestically and internationally and across multiple brands.

Volker Zoeller, consumer goods president for Essity, said: “Daniel brings the breadth and depth of leadership and retail landscape experience needed to support Essity’s ambitious business plan in the region.”

Minney will be based at the UK & ROI consumer goods headquarters in Manchester and takes over from Thea Roberts who held the position on an interim basis.


The Liverpool office of business advisory firm KPMG has strengthened its tax offering to the city’s business community with the appointment of Jane Grainger as a senior manager.

Jane specialises in corporate tax advisory and compliance engagements and brings more than a decade’s experience to the firm’s growing tax practice at Prince’s Parade.

Jane Grainger

Prior to joining KPMG, Jane spent four years in-house in tax and treasury manager positions for a major retailer, and eight years at Deloitte, where she trained as an ACA and CTA qualified accountant and quickly progressed into a senior tax role.

Jane’s appointment is the latest in a series of investments by KPMG in its tax offering as clients in Liverpool and across the North West increasingly require support dealing with the changing regulatory, social and political landscape.

Euan West, office senior partner at KPMG in Liverpool, said: “As Liverpool’s stature grows, there is increasing demand for locally-based advisory services with nationally-recognised expertise.

“Jane’s arrival adds even more experience to our team as we further establish ourselves as a key advisor to the city’s thriving business community.”

Jane Grainger adds: “I’m looking forward to helping build on the exceptional tax offering we currently provide clients across the city, especially given the ever changing tax landscape and the opportunities and challenges this presents to local businesses.”


Media and marketing services publisher Prolific North has appointed Nicky Wake as managing director to succeed the company’s founding publisher Nick Jaspan.

Nicky Wake, the founder and owner of Don’t Panic Projects based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire, is stepping down from day-to-day management of Don’t Panic and will be dividing her time between both companies.

Nicky Wake

Wake set up her events management company 14 years ago with her husband Andy. The company has grown consistently over the years and now generates sales in excess of £2.5m spread across fees from management of third party events through to several of its own awards spanning the UK, Europe, US and EMEA.

Don’t Panic has managed all of Prolific North’s live events across the North West and Yorkshire since its launch in 2013 across five awards and three expos.

Jaspan launched the news and live events website Prolific North in January 2013, along with chairman Mark Dickinson and editor David Prior.

Wake said: “After 14 years building Don’t Panic into one of the North’s leading independent events companies and one unusually with significant national and international activities, an opportunity arose in discussions with the team at Prolific North with whom we have worked very closely for several years.

“We believe there are additional synergies between the two companies which we can exploit together.”

Jaspan added: “The company is now well positioned to move to the next phase in our development, as we seek to build upon our current £1m+ sales by taking advantage of several new opportunities.

“We are confident as a board that in Nicky Wake we have been fortunate to have secured a successful, highly determined and focused individual with a demonstrable record in creating and building new revenue streams.”

Jaspan remains Prolific North’s majority shareholder and will work alongside Wake and the company’s chairman, Mark Dickinson, a former editor and development director at Trinity Mirror, and editor David Prior.


Manchester and Glossop-based law firm Davis Blank Furniss has appointed Libby Holding as the new head of its private client department.

Libby joins Davis Blank Furniss from Beaumont Legal in Wakefield.

Her new role will see her focusing on a variety of core work, including wealth and succession planning, inheritance tax advice, trust creation and administration, wills, lasting powers of attorney and estate administration.

Libby Holding

Libby completed her LLB Law Degree at the University of Liverpool in 2008 and she then took the Bar Vocational Course at City Law School in London – she was called to the Bar 2009.

She cross qualified and was admitted as a solicitor in 2011. She started in family law and then decided to move into private client work. She initially specialised in probate before shifting her focus to the full range of private client matters.

Libby will be primarily based at the firm’s Manchester head office but she will also have a presence in the Glossop office.

Kate Oldfield, managing partner of Davis Blank Furniss, said: “We have seen a surge in demand for our private client services so Libby’s arrival is great news for the firm. She brings with her some fantastic experience which I know will benefit our clients and wider team.”

Libby added: “Davis Blank Furniss is a fantastic firm and seemed the right fit for me. I have a keen interest in business development, marketing and innovation within the legal sector so I am looking forward to growing the private client team in both offices.”

The firm has also announced that two of its team have qualified. Gregory Carr is now a solicitor in the property department, while Rebecca Taylor has qualified as a solicitor in the dispute resolution department.