Durnford, who sold his Morecambe-based cable TV and broadband provider Smallworld Fibre to Virgin Media in February, has wasted no time in gaining a significant foothold on the Northern digital scene.

In May, he acquired Lancaster agency Fat Media, in the process merging it with his own Kendal agency, Motive Technology, and is aiming to add 30 staff to the 90-strong agency over the next year.

The 46-year-old Durham University graduate spent over a decade in marketing with the likes of Mars, Robinsons and Nestle before setting up technology company Netfonics in 2003, which was subsequently absorbed into Smallworld.