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Northern Irish family business owner named 2015 IoD Director of the Year

24 Oct 2015

The Lord Allen of Kensington CBE, chairman of Global Radio and former Chief Executive of ITV, wins Lifetime Achievement Award

The Institute of Directors has recognised some of the country’s most inspiring and accomplished business leaders at the prestigious Director of the Year awards today [Friday 23rd October 2015]. In an awards ceremony at the London Lancaster Hotel this afternoon, more than eighty company directors were up for prizes in categories including Young Director of the Year, Family Director of the Year and International Director of the Year.

Simon Graham Hunter, CEO of Hunter Apparel Solutions, was awarded the Overall Director of the Year Award. Hunter Apparel, a family-run business based in Northern Ireland has been manufacturing uniforms and safety clothing, including for the Fire and Rescue Service, paramedics and the police, for three-quarters of a century. The judges – 33 governance, business and marketing experts from the IoD network across the country – said that Mr. Hunter “demonstrated excellent personal achievement while showing strong leadership and the ability to deal with difficult issues at the heart of a family business.”

The Lord Allen of Kensington CBE scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding work in the creative industries and as an ambassador for corporate responsibility. He forged the creation of ITV as CEO of Granada and then Chief Executive of ITV in the 1990s and 2000s. Lord Allen is now steering the radio industry through a challenging period of consolidation and modernisation as chairman of Global Radio, and has worked tirelessly for community and social projects throughout his career, including as Vice Chairman for the successful London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic bid.

Simon Walker, Director General at the Institute of Directors congratulated this year’s winners and highly commended finalists:

“Congratulations to all the Director of the Year winners. Great businesses are made by great leaders, and it is fantastic to be able to reward some of the country’s finest companies and most inspiring directors at the Director of The Year Awards. As an organisation for business leaders, we know that good governance, and ethical and innovative leadership are the foundations of a successful company. Today’s winners embody these principles, and display the hard-nosed business acumen and commercial drive needed to produce great products and world-leading services.

Patrick McGillycuddy, of ŠKODA UK, headline sponsors of the 2015 Director of the Year awards said:

“This has been a landmark year for the ŠKODA brand. We’ve hit record sales in the corporate and SME markets, which has firmly positioned us as a leader in the business car sector. As such, we are well placed to recognise the achievements of other inspirational leaders in the corporate world, and we’re delighted to sponsor the IoD’s Overall Director of the Year award. Our firm congratulations go to Simon Graham Hunter on an outstanding achievement.”

Full list of winners


Overall Director of the Year & Family Director of the Year

Simon Graham Hunter CDir, CEO of Hunter Apparel Solutions [Northern Ireland]

Highly commended: Colin Macleod, CEO of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society [Jersey]

Highly commended: Sean Ramsden, Chief Executive of Ramsden International [East Midlands]


Family Director of the Year

Simon Graham Hunter CDir, CEO of Hunter Apparel Solutions [Northern Ireland]

Highly commended: Jacqueline O’Donovan, Managing Director of O’Donovan Waste Disposal [London & South East]

Highly commended: Sean Ramsden, Chief Executive of Ramsden International [East Midlands]


Large company Director of the Year

Colin Macleod, CEO of The Channel Islands Co-operative Society [Jersey]

Highly commended: Dan Thombs, Commercial Director / Global Account Executive of COMAU UK [West Midlands]


Young Director of the Year

Stewart McNicholl, Managing Director and Owner of ASKAMS Compliance Services [North East]

Highly commended: Richard Freye, Managing Director of Service Care Solutions [North West]


SME Director of the Year

Daniel Robinson, Chairman & Chief Executive of Gus Robinson Developments [North East]

Highly commended: Sandy Lindsay, Chair of Tangerine / The Juice Academy [North West]

Highly commended: Jeremy Biggerstaff, Managing Director of Flint Studios [Northern Ireland]

Highly commended: Peter O’Toole, Chief Executive Officer of RMS [Wales]


Not-for-Profit / Third Sector Director of the Year

Rhian Bowen-Davies, Chief Executive of Calan Domestic Violence Services [Wales]

Highly commended: Frank A Sweeney, Chief Executive of Cunninghame Housing Association [Scotland]


Public Sector Director of the Year

Marie-Thérèse McGivern, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Metropolitan College [Northern Ireland]

Highly commended: Dr. Andrew RJ Mitchell, Consultant Cardiologist at Department of Cardiology, Jersey General Hospital [Jersey]


International Director of the Year

Sean Ramsden, Chief Executive of Ramsden International [East Midlands]

Highly commended: Matt Lumb, CEO of Tangle Teezer [London & South East]

Highly commended: Nigel Le Quesne, Group CEO & Chairman of JTC [Jersey]


Mid-Market Director of the Year

Mottie Kessler, Chair, CEO and Founder of 2M Holdings [North West]

Highly commended: Ronnie Wayte, Chief Executive of Golden Charter [Scotland]


Non-executive Director of the Year

Magnus Swanson, Chair of Golden Charter [Scotland]


Leadership in Corporate Responsibility Award

Mike Mullan, Europe HR Director of Moy Park [Northern Ireland]

Highly commended: James Woollard, Managing Director of Polythene UK [London & South East]

Highly commended: Huw Lewis MBE, Managing Director of MPCT [Wales] 


New Chartered Director

Lee Schoop, Finance Director of British Friendly Society [East of England]


Student of the Year

Alex Szepietowski, Alexander James [Yorkshire]

Highly commended: Jamie Rawsthorne, Unique Access [South West]


Dr. Neville Bain Memorial Award

Carol Godwin, Non-executive Director of Investec Bank (CI) [Guernsey]




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