Leeds-based Whitecap Consulting has appointed three new equity directors and opened two new offices to increase its regional footprint across the UK. The strategy consultancy, now in its sixth year, works mainly with mid-sized UK businesses with revenues of £10m to £300m and growth ambitions from organic and acquisitive growth, digital and technology-driven change and international expansion.
Joining the management team are Luke Freeman, covering the North West from a new office in Deansgate, Manchester; Lal Tawney who will head up the Midlands and South region from another new office in Milton Keynes; and Stefan Haase, technology strategist who is based in the Leeds office and works across the UK. All three were formerly in Whitecap’s team of 25 associates, and have worked on client projects with Whitecap’s founder and managing director Richard Coates, and fellow director and shareholder Julian Wells.
Whitecap’s key client sectors are in financial services, FinTech, technology, convenience and online retail, consumer goods, property and education sectors – high growth sectors and the importance of the regions were highlighted in the Government’s Industrial Strategy as key to the UK’s growth plans.
Managing director Richard Coates says: “We are now on our own fast track growth path and plan to more than double in size over the next 12-18 months, creating more consulting jobs in the regional offices. Our new directors have sector specialisms, strong regional networks and established experience as strategy advisers to meet client needs across the country.
“Client assignments are coming from a number of areas – regional devolution in general; Northern Powerhouse and regional authority initiatives; digital and technology; and of course, new products, markets and international opportunities. We are now growing the business in line with our aspiration to build a significant regional consultancy firm.
Coates said that clients tend to fall in two camps, “Many have got their heads down and are focused on driving business performance – as they should be. They don’t have the depth of resources or sometimes the head space to analyse customer needs and new markets, look at growth opportunities and impact of technology and then put all this into a pragmatic plan that will deliver profit quickly. We can provide the specialist expertise and senior management teams to help do this.”
For some larger corporate clients, Coates says they have the skills and resources in-house, but often benefit from an independent, external perspective and also support in carrying out strategy planning and implementation.
Stefan Haase brings his technology skills to strategy planning and delivery. He says, “In today’s digital economy, technology is now a core part of any growing business and is a disruptor in many sectors. Growth strategies will always include using technology better, particularly in delivery against ever-increasing customer expectations.”
Luke Freeman says: “Conditions in the North West are fantastic at the moment. We are seeing real opportunities in the commercial and public sectors, with some emerging as a result of the broader devolution agenda in Manchester. FinTech is extremely strong on both sides of the Pennines – the North is an increasingly credible alternative to London in this fast growing market. And there is also the region’s strength in the creative and digital sector, partly triggered by MediaCity in Salford.”
Lal Tawney added, “I think there are great opportunities for businesses across the middle of the UK including the Midlands Engine and Brain Belt. In this region, we have many disruptive, high growth businesses operating in the technology and service sectors. And we also have many traditional businesses that are consolidating, transforming and acquiring for growth.”
Whitecap Consulting is a co-founder of the sell-out Fintech North 2017 event on 26 April in Leeds with 350 delegates and international speakers covering a range of topics including: innovation, blockchain, alternative finance, big data and analytics, artificial intelligence, digital identity and authentication.