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East Midlands

Introducing Sean Ramsden, Winner of Director of the Year Large Business Award 2019

02 Sep 2019


Sean Ramsden is the founder and CEO of Ramsden International, the UK’s leading international wholesaler of food and drink, supplying 23,000 products into more than 650 customers in 133-countries worldwide.

Sean has led Ramsden International since he founded the company as a graduate fresh from Cambridge University in 1995. He has transformed a tiny business into a world leader through an approach of entrepreneurship allied to community. Through leadership, integrity, a willingness to invite challenge and fresh thinking he has gone on to conquer global success, injecting more than half-a-billion into the British economy.

In addition to his business role, Sean holds numerous pro-bono advisory positions; Non-Executive Director at the British Chambers of Commerce, Trustee Director of the Institute of Export and International Trade and Trustee of Borough Market. He also sits on the Management Committee of the Food and Drink Exporters Association and the Department for International Trade, Strategic Trade Advisory Group.

Q: Who inspires you the most in business?

I’m not one for championing “famous” entrepreneurs. I’m sure many of them have achieved amazing things, but I often see people running businesses of all shapes and sizes - as well as working within then – demonstrating some outstanding values, behaviours and performance, often in quite challenging circumstances. It’s individuals like this I’m more likely to take inspiration from than the guys on TV or the non-fiction bestsellers lists!

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?

Looking back, I’d have widened the gap between graduating from Cambridge University and taking the leap into starting my own business. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t regret anything however I do feel I’d have benefited from working for a more established company, especially when on such a steep learning curve as I’d have preferred this to have been on someone else’s time!

Q: How did it feel to win an IoD Director of the Year Award?

It was a real honour to be recognised by the judges, this award is a credit to the team around me, I certainly couldn’t run a successful large business without them.

Q: What are your three key values in life?

1 Treat everyone “the right way”

2 Play for “the Long Game”

3 Always assume you might be wrong!


You can read about all winners of the 2019 IoD East Midlands Director of the Year Awards in our Summer Magazine below.

Read here.

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