A MANAGING partner of a leading business advisory and accountancy firm has stepped down after 20 years.

Paul Stansfield, of Cowgills, which has more than 180 staff and 14 partners in Bolton and Manchester, has handed over the reins to fellow partner Paul Stringer.

Stansfield, who has been at the company for more than 30 years, has overseen its growth to become one of the region's leading advisors – with a 65 per cent growth in the last five years alone.

He took the position of managing partner after Peter Cowgill's move to JD Sports in 2000.

Stansfield will continue to act as an advisory partner for a number of key clients and carry on heading up the firm`s family business sector.

He said: “After 30 years of working at Cowgills and 20 years as managing partner I believe the time is right to hand over the reins to somebody who will take up the role with vigour and enthusiasm.

“I have worked closely with Paul Stringer on the Cowgills board and I am confident he will lead the firm successfully over the next few years.

“During this period of challenge and uncertainty I know Paul and the team are working incredibly hard to provide the very best advice to our clients to get them through the next few months.”

New managing partner Paul Stringer has worked with the firm's corporate finance team since 2000.

He said: “I’m honoured to be leading Cowgills on the next stage of its journey and continuing to support and grow our client base.

“We have focussed on growing a young and ambitious team, actively recruiting like-minded, entrepreneurial individuals who will become the next leaders of our business and who will help to deliver our growth plans.

"Our future expansion will come from the region’s growing and entrepreneurial businesses, strong family businesses, as well as property and construction, which is a key sector for us.

“We have a robust relationship partner model, where one partner oversees each client`s activities and all of its requirements.

"It is a service ethos that has worked very well for us and we will continue to shape the business.”

Cowgills also has a rapidly growing wealth management team in Bolton and Ilkley, West Yorkshire.