2015 Winners


FTSE 100

John McFarlane, Aviva

Judges admired John for his exemplary job whilst Chairman of several high quality businesses, utilising his financial prowess throughout. His no-nonsense approach to running businesses and clear views on how to best structure a Board were evident throughout his time at Aviva. John’s decisive action was instrumental in reinvigorating the Board of Aviva to the highest standards and refocusing the Company to one of financial strength, all during a time of significant regulatory change.

John’s exceptionally focused and strategic management style has not gone unnoticed, having recently secured a heavy weight position on the Board of Barclays plc; a testament to his effectiveness as a Chairman.

Since his appointment in 2012, John’s approach and evaluation of Aviva’s core strategy, whilst challenging existing values around the Company’s financial strength, has delivered an 85% improvement in the share price.

Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

Lady Barbara Judge CBE, Pension Protection Fund

Joining as Chairman five years ago, Lady Judge has made a significant impact on the reputation and organisational growth of the Pension Protection Fund. During this time she worked hard to harmonise a conflicted Board, restructure Board process and improve corporate governance overall. The judges felt Lady Judge’s strong track record in delivering real performance growth has been the catalyst for the significant boost in the reputation of the Pension Protection Fund.

Judges were notably impressed with Lady Judge’s ability to champion the role of women in business, not only by inspiring women through the distinguished Board positions she has gained during the course of her career, but by effectively mentoring and nurturing individuals, including three members who sit on the Pension Protection Fund Board today.

In recognition of the sterling impact this honorable businesswomen has made, Lady Judge was recently named the first ever female chair of the Institute of Directors.


Quoted Company - AIM

Tim Mason, Bonmarché

As a figurehead Chairman, this retail high flyer has no shortage of experience with which to impress the Judges. Joining a company which had only recently come out of administration, Tim was instrumental in utilising his 30 years’ experience at Tesco’s to successfully position Bonmarché for its float on AIM in November 2013.

Judges coined Tim as a “man of the people”, for his mentor style of management which drove a “can do” agility throughout the organisation. His rigorous approach to governance and employee relationships sees him continually challenge the Board by implementing regular reviews of the Group’s strategy, employee development and overall effectiveness of the Board.

Since their successful  IPO Bonmarché has delivered all its strategic initiatives, achieved a 68% growth in PBT and remains to date one of the best performing stocks compared with its peers on AIM.

Quoted Company - Official List

John Hughes, Spectris

John’s blend of diplomacy and direction was a clear winner for the Judges. Under his leadership he has consistently generated shareholder value from a number of successful mid cap technology PLCs, including Telecity and his current stewardship at Spectris, setting him apart as an outstanding leader.

Since taking up the Chair at Spectris John has displayed confidence in the complete reorganisation of the Board, to one of health and diversity. John’s considered and modern approach sets him apart as a developer of the next generation. He has also had a real impact on the strategy and direction of the business to one of substantial growth, rendering John a key and trusted member of the Board.

Over the last five years John’s rigorous approach to enhancing productivity, has led Spectris to deliver a 22% compounded growth rate in share price.

Unquoted/Private Equity Backed

Antonia Jenkinson, Ocean Safety

Antonia emerged out of the shortlist for this year’s awards as an unparalleled winner due to her extensive contribution in her position on the Board of Ocean Safety. Her corporate finance background put her in good stead when she was brought on board the small business in 2002, bringing organisation and rigour to the Board. Antonia has had a huge impact on the success of the business, utilising her commercial knowledge to extend Ocean Safety’s manufacturing capabilities and international reach. From 2002 to 2014 Group turnover increased fourfold from £3m to £12m.

Judges felt Antonia had gone above the call of duty during her time as a NED, taking on detailed assignments and driving them forward. Antonia showed skills unparalleled to other independent advisers, using her financial expertise to successfully steer the Company’s equity partners to the sale of Ocean Safety in May 2014 to August Private Equity.

Lifetime Achievement

Sir John Parker

Judges declared Sir John the overwhelming winner for this award in recognition of the breadth of portfolio he has led over a considerable period. Sir John has held positionsin significant businesses head quartered in the UK, including five FTSE 100’s. His approach to culture and people stood him apart as a prominent winner. Sir John has contributed extensively to people beginning their path as an independent adviser, helping them structure a balanced portfolio of directorships under his guidance.

Furthermore, Sir John has been recognised for his outstanding contribution to business throughout his career, including being knighted for his services to the Defence and Shipbuilding industries and recently appointed as member of the Prime Minister’s Business Council for Britain.

His overall approachability and impressive track record in providing guidance for numerous high profile businesses and individual Non-Executive Directors, time and time again, made him an incredibly worthy winner of this award.