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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland’s premier business leaders revealed

06 Apr 2017

Northern Ireland Institute of Directors

Women dominate as winners of the 2017 IoD First Trust Bank Director of the Year Awards are announced

Eleven local business leaders from across Northern Ireland have been recognised for leadership excellence at this year’s prestigious Institute of Directors (IoD) NI First Trust Bank Director of the Year Awards.

Female leaders dominated the awards, winning over half of the titles available for the first time in the event’s history.

Coming from the public, private and third sectors and across a range of industries including communications, construction and manufacturing, the award winners were acknowledged for their proactive approach towards business growth, corporate governance and responsible leadership.

Moy Park Chief Executive Janet McCollum was named ‘Large Company Director of the Year’ while Belfast City Council’s Chief Executive Suzanne Wylie received the ‘Public Sector Director of the Year’ accolade.

Along with the other categories winners, they join an illustrious list of former recipients of IoD Director of the Year Awards and now also have the chance to be shortlisted for the overall UK ‘Director of the Year Awards’, which take place in London later this year.

The IoD NI First Trust Bank Director of the Year Award winners were announced at a special lunchtime awards ceremony hosted by well-known broadcaster Barra Best at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast. This year’s winners are:

  • Janet McCollum, Moy Park - Large Company Director of the Year (annual turnover of over £100m) sponsored by First Trust Bank
  • Tina McKenzie, Staffline Ireland - Mid-Market Company Director of the Year sponsored by the William J Clinton Leadership Institute
  • Norah Anne Barron, Pi Communications - SME Director of the Year (annual turnover of under £10m), sponsored by Ulster University Business School
  • Colin Williams, Sixteen South - International Director of the Year sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland
  • Suzanne Wylie, Belfast City Council - Public Sector Director of the Year sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions
  • Gareth Loye, M&M Contractors & Mascott Construction - Family Business Director of the Year sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland
  • Declan Cunnane, Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke - Third Sector Director of the Year sponsored by First Trust Bank
  • Dr Bryan Keating, Learning Pool - Non-Executive Director of the Year sponsored by 4c Executive Search
  • Michelle Owens Gregory, Miniversity - Leadership in Corporate Responsibility sponsored by Power NI
  • Robert McConnell, CCP Gransden - Young Director of the Year (under the age of 42), sponsored by Carson McDowell
  • Jill Rob, Origin Digital - Young Enterprise NI Director of the Year nominated by Young Enterprise NI and sponsored by Concentrix

IoD NI Director Linda Brown said the calibre of this year’s winners was a testament to quality of leadership in Northern Ireland business:

“We were delighted to once again partner with First Trust Bank for the Director of the Year Awards which provides a platform on which to showcase the wealth of talent among Northern Ireland’s business leaders.

“This was demonstrated last year when Northern Ireland directors enjoyed a record year at the national IoD Director of the Year Awards winning five titles including Overall Director of the Year while five were highly commended.

“At the IoD, we value high levels of corporate governance and continual learning among directors. Each of this year’s winning directors demonstrated these qualities and showed that the future of their companies and the Northern Ireland economy is in good hands.

“We would like to congratulate all successful directors and those who were shortlisted and wish them all continued success in the future, and to thank all our category sponsors.”

Speaking on behalf of First Trust Bank, sponsor of the awards for the last 3 years, Des Moore, Head of First Trust Bank said:

“Amidst ongoing political and economic flux, I think we all appreciate the essential role strong leadership plays when it comes to success.

“It was evident from the judging process that the skills which contribute to exemplary leadership – from visionary thinking to innovative problem solving – are embedded right across Northern Ireland’s business spectrum.

“Now more than ever, we need to nurture and harness these attributes so our local businesses can continue to grow their own organisations and the Northern Ireland economy as a whole.

“On behalf of First Trust Bank, I offer those shortlisted and the winners many congratulations and thank them for placing leadership development at the top of their agendas.”

For more information, please contact the IoD NI Office on: 

028 9694 6740


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