PlaceFirst appoints chairman

Specialist empty homes developer PlaceFirst has named Peter Martin, former chief executive of software provider Tribal Group, as chairman.

Martin joins Manchester-based PlaceFirst with more than 30 years' experience in business and finance, including roles in the acquisition and disposal of businesses, the raising of capital in the public and private markets, joint ventures and corporate start-ups.

As one of the founder directors and the subsequent chief executive of Tribal Group, a supplier of software and support services to the education sector in the UK and overseas, Martin took the business from initial private equity funding to a full listing on the London Stock Exchange.

Prior to Tribal Group, he was chief executive of Mercury Health, an independent provider of surgical services to the NHS which was successfully sold to Care UK for £52m, realising a profit of £27m.

He was previously a founder partner of corporate finance advisors Anvil Partners and held a range of senior roles at the investment bank Kleinwort Benson.

As well as his position at PlaceFirst, Martin is chairman of BF Group, which runs international education programmes in China, and La Salle Education, the provider of teaching and learning resources and professional development services to schools.

David Smith-Milne, founder and managing director of PlaceFirst, said: "Peter's outstanding experience and track record will help PlaceFirst to drive its growth in the coming years.

"As we enter the next period of our growth, Peter's experience in building fast growing, commercially successful businesses that sit at the public private sector interface will be invaluable in shaping the Placefirst business strategy and its ambition to create a branded provider of affordable, energy efficient, expertly managed homes for private renters."

PlaceFirst aims to refurbish and remodel 2,000 properties in the North West over the next three years. In addition to 131 homes at Woodnook, PlaceFirst is working on empty homes projects across the region including 27 homes in Colne, and 91 homes in Morecambe.

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