CaptureAn Australian who has made the North East his home has taken over as the new chair of the regional arm of insolvency trade body R3.
Neil Harrold, who is a partner with Hay & Kilner Solicitors, will serve a two-year term in the post, and is now responsible for leading R3 campaigns which highlight the benefits of accessing services provided by insolvency practitioners across the region for both individuals and businesses with financial concerns.
He takes over the position from Allan Kelly, who is a partner with RSM, with Andy Haslam of Tait Walker moving into Neil’s previous role of deputy chair.
Neil qualified as both a solicitor and a barrister in his native Perth in Western Australia before moving to the UK in 1989, requalifying as an English solicitor and spending three years with Dickinson Dees in Newcastle.
After a year back in his home city, working for the law firm that represented well-known Australian tycoon Alan Bond, Neil moved back to the North East for family reasons in 1993 and has been here ever since, joining Hay & Kilner on his return to the region and becoming a partner there in 1997.
He was the first solicitor in the North East to pass the Joint Insolvency Examination Board examinations needed to qualify as a licensed insolvency practitioner , and works across every aspect of legal work surrounding personal and corporate insolvency.
R3 is the UK’s leading professional association for insolvency, business recovery and turnaround specialists in the UK.  It promotes best practice for professionals working with financially-troubled individuals and businesses, and draws its North East members from many of the best-known names in the region’s professional services community.
In his new position, Neil Harrold will be continuing R3’s ongoing work in the North East to build a clearer understanding of how insolvency practitioners work to save struggling firms and the jobs they sustain.
He says: “As someone who has made the North East my adopted home I have been very impressed by the positive changes that have occurred during my time here, particularly along the Quayside with the Sage and the Baltic.
“The insolvency industry has also evolved massively during my time working in it, and there’s now a much more planned and professional approach to dealing with distress and effecting rescue.
“The focus is now very much on how struggling companies and the jobs they support can be saved, and an R3 report last year indeed found that more than two in five insolvent firms across the north of England had been rescued with the direct involvement of an insolvency practitioner.
“Proactively tackling financial problems as soon as they become apparent, whether corporate or personal, is crucial in maximising the chances of solving them, and there are a wide range of tools and procedures that can be put in place to find a positive way forward.
“Much of the work that insolvency practitioners do goes ‘under the radar,’ which is testament to the quality of the North East’s insolvency community and the work that they do, and I’ll be working to continue R3’s drive towards broadening everyone’s understanding of the contributions that these practitioners make to the region’s financial well-being.”