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Director of the year awards

Director of the Year Awards 2021

IoD Scotland will be opening soon for online entries for its prestigious Director Awards!
Look out for the launch here: 



2020 was a tumultuous year. Directors faced extraordinary, ever-changing situations that required bold, often difficult, decisions to ensure organisations withstood the challenges, staff were supported and client and stakeholder needs were met. Innovative and resilient Directors have enabled their companies to survive and be ready to take advantage of future trends. These Directors should be applauded, and what better way than by entering the IoD Scotland Awards.

Who can enter: These cross-sector awards are open to all Directors or equivalent level, whether or not IoD members. They are free to enter. There are 12 main categories as well as regional awards (see Categories & Criteria, below).  

Whatever the size of your business, whatever the sector (private, public or third), whether you are a young entrepreneur, long-established Director or NXD, these Awards are for you.

How to enter: Submissions comprise six general criteria questions and two category-specific questions. If entering more than one category, you can replicate your general criteria answers.

The judging panel recognises that all sectors are likely to have been disrupted by Covid-19, so of course this will be taken into consideration when assessing entries; the panel will be looking at a range of criteria as well as long-term goals.


Why enter: Outstanding Directors should stand out! Awards are good for you, your team, your clients, your stakeholders and your business. IoD Scotland works with all finalists to maximise publicity across traditional and social media. This increased profile benefits your business strategy.

The Celebration: IoD Scotland will celebrate the business community’s exceptional directors when winners are revealed at its live online Awards Ceremony on Thursday 9 December.

To register your interest or if you have a question, please email

2020 Awards: You can watch last year’s online Awards here. Host Grant Stott revealed the winners, whose reactions were captured in live interviews. Viewed on more than 500 devices (indicating an audience of perhaps twice this number), a surge of Twitter posts throughout meant that the ceremony was trending for much of the evening.


Director of the Year Award Categories & Criteria

New for 2020/21: Director of the Year − Agility & Resilience
This award recognises a director who has demonstrated determination and resilience throughout the pandemic and tackled challenges head-on – who went ‘above and beyond’ during 2020.

Director of the Year − Large Business
The ultimate IoD Scotland award! This award recognises exceptional talent among leaders of Scotland’s major organisations. It looks for directors displaying courage and vision in decision-making to keep their business ahead of the competition and whose leadership is based on knowledge, skills and a strong ethical mindset.

Director of the Year − SME Business
This award is for outstanding SME business leaders. Whatever the sector – IT, financial, primary, manufacturing, construction, distribution, business services – IoD Scotland wants to hear from dynamic and resilient directors who, despite the challenges of 2020, have supported and led their teams to success.

Director of the Year − Family Business
Scotland’s family businesses are a powerhouse in the Scottish economy but 2020 has been a tough year for them all. This Award recognises directors whose resilience and creativity are leading family businesses to adapt and survive and be ready to take advantage of future trends.

Director of the Year – Third
The Third Sector plays a vital role in supporting communities at local level. IoD Scotland wants to hear about those directors who have embraced the extraordinary challenges of 2020 to continue to meet the needs of those using their services, as well as staff, volunteers and stakeholders.

Director of the Year − Public Sector
The public relies on good public services, which in turn rely on good leadership, never more so than when responding to the Covid-19 challenges. This award is open to leaders of public services, including public agencies, national bodies and governmental departments.

Director of the Year − International
Scotland is always seeking new global markets in a changing geopolitical environment. 2020 produced additional pressures from the pandemic and Brexit preparations. This award is for the international business leaders with evidence of credible growth and development plans to build further on their company success globally.

Director of the Year – Innovation
Who are Scotland’s business disruptors, challenging how things are done and having the vision and drive to be agents for change? Are you IoD Scotland’s Director of the Year – Innovation? Tell us about your successful transformational ideas.

Director of the Year − Young
Whether you have recently become a director or recently set up your own business, we want to hear about your achievements. This award recognises upcoming leaders and entrepreneurs who have operated at director level or set up on their own in the last three years.

Director of the Year − Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity and inclusion builds organisational success. Which directors are making demonstrable improvements resulting in their organisations becoming more equal, diverse and inclusive? Success inspires others – share your story and enter the Awards!

Director of the Year − Sustainability
This award recognises the directors who are integrating environmental sustainability with business success. Ahead of COP26, IoD Scotland wants to shine a light on business leaders who are successfully promoting ethical, green and socially responsible practices.

Director of the Year − Non-Executive
Whether a portfolio NXD or working for one organisation, NXDs provide independent oversight and constructive challenge to the board. Never more so than in 2020 have NXD wisdom and judgement been relied upon. Who are Scotland’s stand-out NXDs?


The Awards are open to all at director level or equivalent, whether or not you are an IoD member.

You are encouraged to enter more than one category where appropriate, but nominees will not be eligible to win more than one Director Award. 

You will also be asked to:
• Complete 6 general criteria questions and 2 category-specific questions, which include profile information about you and your organisation.
• Answer questions summarising your achievements; demonstrating leadership; evidencing the delivery of tangible benefits and results; showing how you have generated new ideas, enhanced performance or affected change, and the provision of a testimonial (if relevant to the category)

Top Tips for Completing Your Entry
Remember that the IoD is about individuals, not organisations, so your answers should be biased to what you have done, achieved or influenced. If the organisation has made great achievements, stress what you did to make it happen.

Vision: articulate your vision and how you are driving it forward

Approach to challenge and innovation: talk about the challenges you have encountered and how you overcame them. What did you learn from the experience? Tell the judges how you have innovated with new ideas, approaches and processes.

Company culture: how do you foster a good culture? What is your attitude to Continual Professional Development and Corporate Social Responsibility for you and your staff? How do you drive this through the organisation?

Corporate Governance: if your organisation is too small to have a full board, demonstrate how you ensure you make good decisions, for example a mentor or consultant. If you are a larger organisation, discuss the role of the independent chair and NXDs and how you ensure the board is balanced and remains up to date.

Leadership: describe why your team would see you as a role model and how you have provided strong leadership at times of stress and challenge and how you support your staff and communicate with clients, stakeholders etc.
The person being entered is best placed to respond to the questions, but working with a colleague can help.”

Deadline for entries: 23 September 2021

You will be entered into the relevant Regional category, based on your business address:
• Aberdeen & Grampian
• Central Scotland
• Edinburgh & Lothians
• Fife & Tayside
• Glasgow & West of Scotland
• Highlands & Islands
• South of Scotland

If you have any questions, please email or call Joyce on 01577 865498 / 07711 432745 or Alice on 07483 812596


Deadline for entries: 23 September 2021

Please download our Eligibility to Enter guidelines here >>>  

If you are an agency entering a company on their behalf, please state the company name plus your contact details. 

If you do not have sufficient information in time for the deadline, please fill out the financials form using your projected figures. If at a later stage you are able to update it, please email 

The Awards are free to enter.

The judging panel will be announced on our website in due course. Our judges bring industry knowledge to assess every entry, helping us maintain the high standard of the awards. 

Absolutely! Take a look at all of the categories in detail to decide which ones are suitable for you, there is no limit. 

You will receive an email to confirm that your entry has been submitted correctly. If you do not receive this please email
Sponsorship of the Director of the Year Awards

There are many opportunities for organisations to work with the Institute of Directors (IoD) in Scotland. Given the national context, it is attractive to a wide variety of agencies wishing to raise their profile in this “special” Scottish market and who wish to take advantage of the exclusive features of the IoD across the UK, including the unique nature of its members.

By partnering with our Awards, your company will receive all the brand awareness. You will have the opportunity to forge new relationships with key business targets – entrants, finalists, winners, partners and the wider IoD membership. A comprehensive and complementary series of elements, from a Thought Leadership Webinar available to the whole IoD membership ahead of the Awards Ceremony, to a recorded message from a sponsor representative played before the category finalists are announced on the night to all those watching, along with strong social media messaging, will ensure your partnership with the IoD is fruitful.

Why sponsor?
The IoD membership in Scotland represents around 1,200 company decision makers focused on growing their businesses. They are interested in individuals or organisations that can help them do that.
Gain credibility and
Align with a campaign run by the only organisation to represent set standards for business leaders nationwide.
Align with excellence
Sponsoring the IoD Director of the Year Awards creates unparalleled opportunities for your business to engage key business communities, position your brand and network. 

Reach your target audience
Our diverse business community is made up of entrepreneurs, SME's, social enterprises, family businesses and the FTSE 100.

Networking opportunities
The Director of the Year Awards ceremony gives you an unparalleled opportunity to connect with some of the most renowned business leaders across the UK.

Return on investment
The Awards marketing campaign reach is more than 250,000 views across the region, demonstrating remarkable value for money.
If you would like to get involved by sponsoring the IoD Scotland Director of the Year Awards, please contact Joyce Lamond for more information: / 07711 432745.

The 2020 Scotland Winners
The Institute of Directors Scotland recognised Scotland’s top directors at its annual Director of the Year Awards, which were held virtually on Tuesday 8 September.

19 outstanding leaders collected awards in a ceremony that acknowledged the best in business across 12 key director categories, as well as seven regional and two special awards.

With the world facing the most collectively challenging situation known for a lifetime, there has been a significant impact on both consumer behaviour and organisational structures. As such, we would like to acknowledge the hard work and leadership skills of all those who entered the Awards this year.

You can read about all the shortlisted finalists in the Awards Brochure.


IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Large Business
Jim Galbrait
h, Chief Executive, Scottish Friendly Assurance Ltd

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Small-Medium Business
Marshall Dallas,
Chief Executive, EICC

          Highly Commended
          Michael Rolland
, Managing Director, The Paint Shed 

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Family Business
Sponsored by Turcan Connell
Ed Monaghan,
CEO, Mactaggart & Mickel

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion
Lynne Cadenhead, Chair, Women’s Enterprise Scotland

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Innovation
Sponsored by Scottish Government
Martin Murray,
Owner/ Director, Dunnet Bay Distillers Ltd

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – International
Colin Wade
Managing Director, Chemco International Ltd

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Non-Executive
Sponsored by Wheatley Group
Sarah Deas,
Non-Executive DirectorBank of Scotland Foundation and Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland)           

          Highly Commended
          John Anderson, Non-Executive Chairman, iMultiply
          Resourcing Limited

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Public Sector
Simon Milne MBE
, Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Social Value & Sustainability Impact
Sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland

Martin McCrimmon, Business Systems Director, CMS Window Systems

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Start-Up
Dave Hughes
, Founding Director/ CTO, Novosound

          Highly Commended
          Nicki Sturzaker, Co-founder, Drylaw House

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Third Sector
Sponsored by SCVO
Iain MacRitchie,
  Founder & CEO, MCR Pathways  

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Young
Sponsored by Insights Learning and Development
Rebecca Bell
, Operations Director, Spectrum Service Solutions Ltd

Chair’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice
Professor Heather McGregor CBE,
Executive Dean, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University

Young Enterprise Scotland Director Award
Lyle Hamilton,
Managing Director, Idiom (part of Dumfries and Galloway High School’s YES Programme)


Highlands and Islands Enterprise Regional Director of the Year
Niall MacDonald,
Previously Managing Director, Aquascot

          Highly Commended
          Lisa Kerr, Gordonstoun

Regional Director of the Year – Aberdeen & Grampian
Graham McWilliam,
Managing Director, Glencraft (Aberdeen) Ltd

Regional Director of the Year - Central Scotland
Dr Ken Thomson OBE,
Principal and CEO, Forth Valley College

Regional Director of the Year - Edinburgh & Lothians
Simon Milne MBE,
Regius Keeper, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh

Regional Director of the Year - Glasgow & West of Scotland
Iain MacRitchie,
Founder & CEO, MCR Pathways

          Special Recognition
          Vanessa Gilpin,
Director, strEAT Events Ltd

Regional Director of the Year – South of Scotland
Anna White,
Managing Director, ScotlandShop

Regional Director of the Year – Tayside & Fife
Nathan Pyne-Carter,
CEO, Ace Aquatec Ltd

          Highly Commended

          Mike Robinson, Chief Executive, Royal Scottish Geographical Society




IoD Scotland Director of the Year Awards Judging Panel

IoD Scotland is grateful to our esteemed judging panel for their diligence, time, expertise and commitment.

Chair of the 2020 Judging Panel
Raymond O’Hare, Independent Non-Executive Advisor/Director, OC Solutions

Judging Panel
Tim Allan, Private Equity and Property Entrepreneur / President, Scottish Chambers of Commerce
Jo Armstrong, Non-Executive Director, Wheatley Group
Shirley C Campbell, Director for People, Scottish Water
Dr Jesus Canduela, Head of DBA Programme, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Gillian Docherty OBE, Chief Executive, The Data Lab
Anna Fowlie, Chief Executive, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO)
Margaret Gibson OBE, Deputy Chief Executive, EY Foundation
Iain Gulland, Chief Executive, Zero Waste
Poonam Gupta OBE, Founder & Chief Executive, PG Paper Company
Mike Kane, Partner, Head of Business Law, Turcan Connell
Andy Lothian, CEO, The Insights Group and Co-founder, Insights Learning and Development
Aidan O’Carroll, Chair, IoD Scotland
David Oxley, Director of Business Growth, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
Professor Robert Raeside, Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Theresa Shearer, Group CEO, The Piper Group & ENABLE Scotland
David Watt, Chair, Fife College & Scottish Forum on Natural Capital Steering Group

Sponsors & Supporters

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is an ambitious organisation with a unique remit that integrates economic and community development. We work in a diverse region which extends from Shetland to Argyll, and from the Outer Hebrides to Moray, covering more than half of Scotland’s land mass.

We are the Scottish Government’s economic and community development agency for the north and west of Scotland. Our purpose is to generate sustainable economic growth across the region.

Our aim is for the Highlands and Islands to be a highly successful and competitive region in which increasing numbers of people choose to live, work, study and invest.

W:  |  E: | T: 01463 245245  |  @HIEScotland

Insights Learning and Development
is a global leader in self-awareness and people development solutions. It uses a simple and accessible model of personality type based on the work of Swiss psychologist Carl Jung and a broad range of psychometric models of increasing depth. 

Insights creates more effective teams by helping people better understand themselves and others, communicate with impact through the framework of a common language, and tackle pressing business challenges, putting people right at the heart of solving issues.

W:  |  E: | T: 01382 908050|  @insights

Scottish Government
Scotland CAN DO is our statement of intent towards becoming a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation.  We want businesses in Scotland to increase their level of innovation and realise their growth ambitions, creating jobs and wealth across the country. 

Our Innovation Action Plan is supporting innovation in businesses, sectors and places, using public sector spend to catalyse innovation, and making best use of research, knowledge and talent to drive innovation and growth.  Scotland can rise to the global challenges facing us and shape the future.

W:  |  E: |  T: 0300 244 4000|  @Scotgov

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations
The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is the national membership body for Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector. We champion the sector, provide services and debate big issues. 

We’re passionate about what the voluntary sector can achieve. Along with our community of 2,000+ members, we believe that charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups make Scotland a better place. 

We lobby government on policy issues, create jobs for young people and support organisations to embrace and promote digital skills. We also help with day-to-day stuff, like affordable office space, discounted training courses, funding opportunities and information and support to help people set up and run their organisations.

W:  |  E:  |  T: 0131 556 3882  |  @SCVOtweet

Turcan Connell
Turcan Connell
is one of the UK’s premier private client firms with offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow and London. We command a unique position by providing clients with an integrated set of legal services alongside a complete range of tax advice. 

Our success is due to the firm’s continued focus on meeting the needs of individuals, families, charities, entrepreneurs and family business owners. We believe that this joined-up, interdisciplinary approach of combining legal and tax skills and expertise really sets Turcan Connell’s solicitors apart and enables us to provide the very best advice and counsel to our clients.

Wheatley Group
Wheatley Group
is one of the UK’s most dynamic, agile and best-performing large housing, care and property-management groups. Its geographic footprint covers 19 local authority areas in Central and South of Scotland, providing homes and services to around 250,000 people.

All organisations within the Wheatley Group remain firmly rooted in their local communities, whilst drawing on the strength, size, scale and resources of the Group to contribute on a regional and national level to affordable housing, care and community regeneration across Scotland.

W: |  E:  |  T: 0800 479 7979 |  @WheatleyHousing

Zero Waste Scotland
Zero Waste Scotland
exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic and social benefits of a circular economy. 

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

W:  |  E:  |  T: 01786 33930 |  @ZeroWasteScot

Edinburgh Business School, Heriot-Watt University
Edinburgh Business School (EBS)
is a graduate school of Heriot-Watt University. We give everyone the chance to study and pursue their dreams on their own terms, so you can take those intellectual risks to rise up and lead the way in the things that matter for tomorrow’s world. Our online postgraduate programmes in business are accessible, affordable and alternative; they give you the freedom to tailor and manage your studies around you and your commitments.

EBS carries out background checks on the Director of the Year finalists, including Companies House records and various other sources through the Centre for Networks and Enterprise (CNE). The CNE is an independent research centre located within the EBS and carries out applied and theoretical research and specialist consultancy into a wide range of issues. The centre is currently supporting research on gender and boardroom interlocks, finance syndication, social entrepreneurship and career progression. Its projects aim to optimise network interventions and offer policy advice where appropriate. Its research aims to support people to achieve their potential and facilitate business to optimise operations. 

W: |  E:  |  T: 0131 451 3090|  @EBS_Global