Tim Bacon
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We at Palatine would like to add to the many tributes already made in respect of the recent sad passing of Tim Bacon. Tim was Chairman of both Gusto and The Alchemist and was a massive part of the success and development of both these businesses. His impact on the restaurant and bar scene in Manchester over the last twenty five years is unparalleled and will never be forgotten. He helped transform the city into the vibrant, cosmopolitan place it has become today.

Tim had the ultimate skill of any great leader in that he could spot great talent in a person and then provide the inspiration to allow them to grow and develop in their own right. He will be greatly missed by all at Gusto, The Alchemist and all the other Living Ventures business as well as everyone that knew him.

Our thoughts are with his family and close friends who have a lost a greatly loved man.

New Channel Structure and FD at Wren Sterling
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Palatine Private Equity portfolio company Wren Sterling has appointed Kevin O’Farrell and Simon Jones as Directors of its Private Client and Corporate Client channels respectively as the company moves to a new structure. It has also hired Andy Moss as Finance Director.

Historically, Wren Sterling operated on a regional basis when it was called Towergate Financial, but a comprehensive transformation programme that began in March last year and touching IT, back office infrastructure and property, has now enabled the firm to aligning itself according to three channels, Private Client, Corporate and Partnership.

Colin Hall remains Director of Partnerships with responsibility for Wren Sterling’s relationships with building societies. O’Farrell was previously Director of Wren Sterling’s South division and Jones has led Wren Sterling’s business development activities since 2011, which brought in several introducer relationships, including TaxAssist Accountants, the nationwide accountancy franchise.

Moss joins Wren Sterling from Valldata Services and has 15 years’ experience as a finance director. His career also includes a spell as Managing Director for a division of Cable & Wireless plc.

Palatine Private Equity backed the buyout of Wren Sterling (previously Towergate Financial) in April 2015.

Ian Darby, Executive Chairman, Wren Sterling said: "Moving to a channel structure makes absolute sense for the business, our advisers and our clients. Kevin has been with Wren Sterling for several years and has performed a similar role in a previous company, while Simon has been integral to the growth of Wren Sterling’s corporate distribution channels so that are both obvious choices for me. Under Colin’s guidance Wren Sterling successfully launched with the Darlington Building Society last July and we’re keen to grow this channel again this year. I’m also delighted that Andy has chosen to join Wren Sterling. He is a high calibre finance director with valuable experience in blue chip organisations which will only enhance Wren Sterling. All of this work is geared towards creating true consistency of approach and service across the business regardless of location or how clients interact with us and allowing Wren Sterling to scale up in 2016, with exciting new developments to follow."

Revenues jump 10 per cent at icelolly.com
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A focus on putting the customer at the heart of its business and driving marketing initiatives has seen revenues jump 10 per cent at holiday price comparison website icelolly.com

Leeds-based icelolly.com, which employs almost 50 people and celebrated its 10th anniversary last year, saw revenues jump from £2.7m in the first three months of 2015 to £3m in the same period this year.

The company compares over 100 million holiday offers from some of the UK’s top travel companies. It has well over 20 million visitors to its site each year.

Backed by Palatine Private Equity in late 2013 following a management buyout, icelolly.com said its growth was largely down to a "shift in focus to quality customer care."

Over the past two years, the business has conducted a stringent review of all advertising partners and introduced a strict code of conduct and compliance to ensure that they meet icelolly.com’s high standards.

Icelolly.com has also led a number of successful TV campaigns and sponsorships over the years and is currently the official sponsor of ITV’s prime time Saturday night show Bang On The Money.

Andrew Latham, CEO at icelolly.com, said: "We’ve made huge strides despite challenging market conditions. It’s fantastic that consumers are increasingly turning to icelolly.com to compare prices and save money on their holidays. Much of our growth has been down to positioning the customer at the heart of our business, which has seen customer satisfaction scores soar and repeat visits increase. We now have a network of over 25 partners who all work tirelessly to offer the best holiday deals and we will continue to strengthen these relationships as we target further growth."

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