Real announces new leadership appointments

01 November 2021

Real announces new leadership appointments
Real has announced the addition of three new leadership team members, along with several internal promotions.


The contractor and developer, formed in 2021, has ambitious growth plans and following recent wins, the restructuring of the business and new appointments are central to Real’s aim of continuing to deliver for residential and retirement living clients across London, the South East and South West.

In addition to the internal promotions, the new external hires are: Stuart Hamilton, Regional Construction Director; Ben Cox, Chief Operating Officer; and Shelley Allsopp, Head of HR.

As a people-focussed, inclusive organisation, Real has appointed new leadership team members that reflect its vision and values, and who have built careers delivering outstanding management.

Paul Nicholls, CEO at Real, said: “Here at Real we want to create a business that cares. Having been in the construction industry for over 25 years I have seen individuals develop fantastic careers and want Real to be a driving force in supporting more people to further themselves in the industry. This is why we have chosen to promote internally and hire externally - we want to create equal opportunities for success, for everyone”.

Chief Operating Officer, Ben Cox, joins Real from his previous position as Commercial Director within the Wates Group.

An experienced and motivated leader, Ben’s key attributes include combining the big picture view with attention to detail to deliver successful projects. Ben is also a fantastic advocate for supporting and developing talent within his teams, after starting his own career as a junior surveyor.

Ben also joins the Group Board at Real, along with: Paul Nicholls, CEO; Dane Houlahan, Chair; Nick Standen, Non-Executive Director, and Viv Frankham, Chief Financial Officer who recently joined the leadership team at Real.

Stuart Hamilton joins Real as the new Regional Construction Director from Wates, where he was responsible for a portfolio of projects in Wandsworth and Westminster.

With over 15 years of extensive experience in organisational change, Shelley Allsopp has been appointed as Head of HR, following previous roles at Roche Diagnostics UK & Ireland, and Sussex Partnership NHS Trust.

Alongside the new appointments, Real has announced several key internal promotions, highlighting the depth of talent in the business.

Simon Carter has been promoted to Regional Construction Director with overall responsibility for delivering the South West’s construction activity. Simon started working in construction in 1982 as an apprentice brick layer and has progressed within the industry through site management, delivery roles and contracts management.

The newly promoted Head of Legal, Caroline Saunders, is a qualified solicitor and has spent 15 years within construction legal teams, specialising in construction contracts and development vehicles.

Mark Unsworth has recently been promoted to Regional Director for Real’s London and South East business from his role as Regional Commercial Director.  Mark has spent over thirty years in the industry holding all commercial positions. He has worked in a variety of sectors including education, healthcare, refurbishments, new build housing and more recently, joint venture regeneration projects.

Newly promoted Regional Commercial Director, David Barton, has been in a surveying role since 2002, starting as a trainee. He prides himself on coaching and mentoring teams to drive continuous improvement in people and projects and is always keen to embrace new initiatives and technologies.

Loftus Theron is a PWC-trained Chartered Accountant with extensive financial and commercial management experience gained in both SMEs and listed entities in the pharmaceutical, hospitality and property sectors in the UK. Loftus joined from Wates where he worked as Financial Controller, and is the newly promoted Commercial Finance Director at Real.

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