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Ascent, a subsidiary of the Irwin Mitchell Group, has announced a number of changes to its executive board including the promotion of Niall Gilhooley to the position of Chief Executive.

Niall, who has worked at Ascent since 2009, was previously Chief Operating Officer at the company. He has over 20 years of experience in financial services which includes working for the UK’s largest subprime lender, a major debt collection agency and one of the country’s leading debt purchasers.

He replaces Mark Higgins who takes up the position of Chairman at Ascent following the decision by Howard Culley to move to Non-Executive Director. New Chief Operating Officer, David Whittaker, has been promoted to the board, along with Finance Manager, Valerie Wilson, and Irwin Mitchell Corporate Partner, Laurence Gavin.

Ascent is a specialist agency operating on behalf of UK banks, insurers, companies and public organisations. Its Ascent Contact division provides support services to major financial institutions, including external field counselling in respect of mortgage arrears as well as investigation services for insurance claims. Ascent Collections provides contingency collections and tracing services.

Commenting on his appointment to Chief Executive, Niall Gilhooley said:

"Ascent is an established player in the UK and in a very strong position to grow and build market share in the future."

“Along with the rest of the management team, I see significant demand for our services, particularly as institutions move forward in an increasingly regulated environment. It is very likely that as a result, the field agency and debt collections sector will experience growth as businesses and other organisations seek to cure issues and help customers get back on track with their payments wherever possible.”

Ascent’s new Chairman, Mark Higgins, added:

“I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Howard Culley for the hugely valuable role he has played as Chairman - particularly his support in helping develop Ascent into one of the UK’s most reputable and trusted field agency brands. I am delighted that Howard will continue to sit on our board to continue to provide his invaluable guidance."

“This latest announcement reflects the huge impact that Niall has had at Ascent since he joined, whilst also recognising his drive to continue expanding the business. We have some exciting plans for growth and I look forward to working closely with him, along with the new members of the executive team, in the future.”

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