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Top leaders of 2018 revealed at IoD Director of the Year Awards

19 Oct 2018
The 2018 winners of the Director of the Year Awards, UK finals, with Claudia Winkleman

Some of the best performing business leaders of 2018 saw their work recognised on Thursday 18 October at the IoD Director of the Year Awards.

The event, presented by Strictly Come Dancing host Claudia Winkleman, took place at the the Royal Horticultural Halls in London.

Welcoming the finalists, IoD director general Stephen Martin said: “Your stories are the real story of British business. While the UK faces its fair share of challenges, we also boast a wealth of innovative, world-beating companies. Collapses like that of Carillion will always grab the headlines, but it is your stories that should be front and centre in people’s minds.

“Now more than ever, it is crucial that the contribution Britain’s business leaders make does not go unrecognised. And the IoD will spare no effort in championing your success and trumpeting the virtues of British firms up and down the country.

“Because, through your work this year, you have contributed immensely, not just to the economy, but to society – creating jobs, generating prosperity, and opening up opportunity for others. And we shouldn’t forget this.”

Among the winners were VHR managing director Danny Brooks, who took home the award for Global Director of the Year; Lavra Capital director Tamara Sakovska, who earned the accolade Chartered Director of the Year; and Isle of Harris Distillery managing director Simon Erlanger, who took home the prize for SME Director of the Year.

The next wave of UK entrepreneurs was also celebrated with Toby McCartney, CEO of MacRebur, crowned Start-Up Director of the Year and Siti Aishah Mohd Selamat, a PhD researcher at, recognised as Student Director of the Year.

A special award for excellence in director and board practice, the Dr Neville Bain Memorial Award, was presented to Andy Palmer, president and CEO of Aston Martin Lagonda.

The awards, with category sponsors including IoshJaguar and St James’s Place, brought together finalists from regional heats across the UK.

IoD Director of the Year Awards 2018 – full list of winners

Chartered Director, in partnership with St. James’s Place - Tamara Sakovska CDir, director, Lavra Capital

Corporate Social Responsibility, in partnership with Iosh - Dr Julian Skyrme, director of social responsibility, The University of Manchester

Family Business - Naveen Ahmed, managing director, The Parklane Group

Global -  Danny Brooks, managing director, VHR

Inclusivity, in partnership with Jaguar - Gary Thompson, chief fire and rescue officer, Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service

Innovation - Denis Lynn, chairman, Lynn’s Country Foods – Finnebrogue Artisan

New - Daniel O’Toole, chief executive officer, Retail Merchandising Services

Non-Executive - Jeremy Brettell CDir, non-executive director, Guarantee Protection Insurance, Anderson Strathern Asset Management, Transact, Airdrie Savings Bank, Wesleyan Bank

Public/Third Sector - Simon Pirotte, CEO and principal, Bridgend College

SME - Simon Erlanger, managing director, Isle of Harris Distillery

Start-Up - Toby McCartney, CEO, MacRebur

Dr Neville Bain Memorial Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice - Dr Andy Palmer, President and CEO, Aston Martin Lagonda

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