Whitecap Consulting, the Leeds-based strategy consultancy, has appointed Gary Lumby MBE as its first non-executive director.

Former director of Yorkshire and Clydesdale Banks, Gary Lumby has a strong non-executive director portfolio across Yorkshire and the North East, with a focus around business growth and funding.

Gary Lumby

Launched in 2012, Whitecap typically works with northern-based companies with turnover of £10m – £300m to support growth and provides commercial due diligence services to private equity firms and deal advisers. Clients include Costcutter Supermarkets Group, National Accident Helpline, First Direct Arena, Aldermore Bank, Nostrum Group, rebuildingsociety.com and Capita.

Taking a dose of its own medicine, Whitecap this year carried out research with nearly 100 businesses and advisers across the North, looking at a wide range of sectors, to understand trends and plans. This showed that growth is now the norm for the £10m – £300m turnover market, coming from organic growth or acquisitions; and where once technology was seen as an enabler to achieve a strategy, it is now a core part of business planning, especially around customer engagement through digital channels. Many are hiring technology, digital and data expertise – but a shortage of good people and skills was regularly mentioned.

Richard Coates, managing director of Whitecap, said: “Gary Lumby’s expertise has been focused on business growth and funding for the last 20 years. He will help guide us in our own growth; providing an additional perspective as we develop and deliver our strategic services for clients; and help us to network across the North.

“For many businesses, funding will be a key part of achieving their growth – and advisers could see a role for us in developing the investment business case, identifying external trends and showing how risks will be managed, as well as shaping and implementing strategies post investment. This complements our work in commercial due diligence.”

Gary Lumby said: “Whitecap is focusing on an area which I believe has enormous potential. Businesses are now seeking external funding to fuel their growth and it has never been more important to articulate clearly a robust and well thought-through business and commercial strategy.  Businesses in this market rarely have a full-time strategy or strategic marketing director and there are limited resources to look at growth opportunities and test them out. Whitecap fills this gap.”

Richard Coates says that Whitecap currently has three co-owners and an associate network and will increase to around 15 employees with a larger associate network, within three years.

Lumby is an active member of the North East and Yorkshire business communities. He is a member of the Investment Panel for the North East Let’s Grow Regional Growth Fund and is a mentor/tutor on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Programme run by Leeds University Business School. He was president of Leeds Chamber of Commerce from 2008 -2011 and sat on industry forums such as Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership.

Gary was awarded an MBE for Services to the Finance Industry in the 2008 New Year’s Honours List and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.