THE search for the most inspiring men and women in business begins today with the launch of the North East Business Executive of the Year 2012.
These prestigious and closely watched awards – which are run by The Journal in association with the Evening Gazette on Teesside – recognise the achievements of the region’s top business people.
As businesses continue to battle the biggest economic challenges they have faced for generations, the judges will be looking for the kind of spirited individuals who have led their businesses to success against the odds and will prove to be models for others.
Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “There is no doubt that this is one of biggest and most prestigious events in the business calendar. The awards are now in their 29th year and the list of winners is a roll call of some of the most influential figures in the region’s economy over that time.
“If the region is to grow its economy then we need ambition and leadership. These awards have uncovered some shining examples of leaders who have achieved success for their companies through innovation, commitment and sheer hard work. More of these inspiring individuals will be recognised this year.”
The awards are split into sub-regional heats – Tyneside and Northumberland, Durham and Wearside and Teesside. The overall winner will be chosen from the top executives who progress through to the grand final.
In addition to the top award, there are trophies for the North East Young Business Person of the Year, who must be aged 30 or under, Non-Executive Director of the Year, which aims to recognise the vital role non-executives can play in the development of companies of all sizes, whether private, public or charitable organisations, and a Lifetime Achievement award.
Once again this year investment management firm Brewin Dolphin is the associate sponsor of the competition.
Vinay Bedi, divisional director of the business in Newcastle, has been a judge for the contest for more than a decade and relishes the task of finding the biggest successes of this last year.
He said: “During this period of economic downturn, this competition is particularly important in trying to recognise those who can help to lead this region back to prosperity.
“The Government is looking to private enterprise to help to lead the recovery and we have a great record in this region of producing individuals who can provide a catalyst for the economic growth which is absolutely imperative for the future success of the North East.
“These awards have a track record of selecting some extremely good executives who have not just been successful but have the leadership and resourcefulness to bring a sustainable success to their business and often to other parts of the economy. What the judges will be looking for even more closely this year is an individual who can act as a role model for other executives across the region and be an inspiration for everyone in business.”
Brewin Dolphin is a large and significant business within the North East community employing more than 300 people in Newcastle and around 35 in Teesside.
But having replaced the Wise Speke name with its parent company name, Brewin Dolphin, in 2008, the firm still wants to promote the Brewin Dolphin name yet further in the region.
It has developed partnerships with high- profile brands including The Journal and Evening Gazette to spread the word about its services even further.
“We wanted to enhance our business exposure further still and the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards are the biggest, best and most prominent business awards in the region’s calendar,” said Bedi.
“It’s an awards that people respect, that people are honoured to receive. Even though the Business Executive is a personal award, it reflects fully on the business itself. It generates a lot of third-party interest about who are the up-and- coming senior people who have really achieved over the year.
“I feel its significance has grown over the years. It’s a high-quality award which is promoted for several months beforehand in The Journal and gets a lot of build-up.”
He said he is keen to continue his work on the judging panel, which is made up of senior business figures from across the region, as he enjoys it so much.
“It is always an interesting task to look right across the spectrum of businesses in the North East and find people who are not just part of a company’s success but real leaders who we can see are a real key to the achievements of their business.”
Bedi said that just as Brewin Dolphin was based on quality and longevity, the judges would be looking for the same in their overall winner.
“We are not looking for flash-in-the-pan business executives,” he said. “And while we will be looking at all the traditional industries, we will also be looking at the leaders in the new technology which is key to the future success of our economy.
“While a number of our plcs are under threat, it has a major role to play on emphasising how important quoted companies are to the region. But it also encourages smaller companies to kick on and grow.”
This year’s awards have been launched with help from sponsors including Dickinson Dees, Newcastle University Business School and Teesside University Business School.
The judging panel will be looking for nominations for the awards from today until August 24.
There is more about the awards online at www.nebusiness.co.uk/businessexec and regular updates are to be found on Twitter if you use the hashtag #businessexec
There will be an awards dinner on November 15 at the Gosforth Park Marriott which is always one of the biggest dates in the region’s business calendar.
:: To make a nomination, reserve a table, or for further information, go to www.nebusiness.co.uk/businessexec
Alternatively contact Lesley Hampson, events manager, on 0191 201 6435 or email firstname.lastname@example.org