Sir Peter Gershon CBE – National Grid
With a 30 year career spanning the international computer, telecommunications and defence industries, Sir Peter’s blend of tactical insight and experience made him a clear winner among the Judges.
Under his Chairmanship, National Grid has sustainably grown shareholder value and continues to address any challenges head on. At a time when the industry has been undergoing rapid change, Sir Peter delivered a successful CEO succession process, while helping an almost entirely new Board to understand the background to the company’s current strategy, providing consistent and pragmatic leadership on sensitive issues.
Passionate about ethical standards, risk process and effectiveness reviews in the boardroom and beyond, the Judges were impressed with Sir Peter’s focus on “diversity of thought” within the Board, encouraging creative thinkers to speak up, and how he challenged National Grid to better promote its engineering credentials at the same time as improving the accuracy of data the Group provides to its regulators.
Described by the judging panel as a “seasoned”, “granular” and “philanthropic” chairman, Sir Peter has significantly enhanced National Grid’s reputation in the FTSE 100 and its contribution to the UK economy as a whole.
Quoted Company - Official List
Andrew Allner – Marshalls
During his 13 years on the Board of Marshalls PLC, Andrew has displayed no shortage of experience with which to impress the Judges, leading the way on not one, but two total changes to the Executive and Non-Executive Board, while steering the business through the last financial crisis after taking on the Chairman role in early 2010.
During his tenure Andrew has worked hard to achieve a good balance between the views of shareholders, advisers and the executive management team, and was instrumental in promoting the agenda for the successful sales of the Marshalls’ aggregates business in 2013.
Coined as “highly capable”, “thoughtful” and “brave” by the Judges, Andrew’s focus on transparency and probing for the right information has led to significant enhancements in Board reporting. Meanwhile the Judges praised him for his role in bringing more diversity to the Marshalls Board, with the appointment of the Company’s first female director.
Although he modestly describes his style as “evolutionary, not revolutionary”, the Judges unanimously agreed that his achievements to date have been far more revolutionary than he gives himself credit for.
Quoted Company - AIM
Peter Allen, Clinigen
After joining Clinigen as non-executive Chairman shortly before its flotation on AIM in September 2012, Peter has been instrumental in driving growth and shareholder value within the business through a number of transformational strategic acquisitions.
His rigorous approach to governance sees him continually challenge the Board, instilling in them a clear focus on the future, ensuring full compliance by Clinigen as an AIM company and steering the company to adopt appropriate main market governance and reporting structures.
The Judges were particularly impressed by Peter’s supportive, mentoring approach as Chairman, describing him as “very capable” and “adding value to everything he touches”. Meanwhile the panel praised his desire to remain out of the spotlight himself, preferring to position the CEO as the star instead.
Thanks to his wealth of experience on the Boards of both private and publicly owned companies, and demonstrating the true value of his contribution, Clinigen’s market cap has increased more than five-fold from £135m to circa £750m during his tenure.
sed more than five-fold from £135m to circa £750m during his tenure.
Unquoted/Private Equity Backed
Helen King, Vanarama
In a closely fought category, made up of exemplary nominees, Helen’s hands on approach and strong focus on risk processes, recruitment and business innovation made her the standout winner among the judges this year.
As NED of Vanarama for the past eight years, Helen brought invaluable PLC knowledge to the Board, which she garnered from her rapid rise through the ranks at both Thomson Newspapers and Johnston Press.
After Vanarama’s largest finance provider exited the market in 2008, Helen’s quick analytical thinking and business foresight helped steer the business safely through the financial crisis. Since then her strategic input to the Board directly resulted in Vanarama launching a successful Franchise Programme and breaking into the car leasing market.
Overseeing all recruitment for the business, Helen further impressed the judging panel with what she has achieved in championing the role of women in business – bucking the trend within the male-dominated motor industry, such that 42% of Vanarama’s employees and 55% of the senior management team are now women.
A deserved winner, Helen was described by the Judges as “deeply involved” and “passionate” about the business and its staff, making a huge difference both internally and externally, helping to increase profitability in the business from £250,000 in 2012 to over £2.5m in the last financial year.
Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation
David Croisdale-Appleby OBE, Dementia UK
Since joining Dementia UK as Chairman in 2013, David has been instrumental in transforming the loss-making organisation into a clinically-led major force in dementia care.
Through a radical financial and operational restructuring, which included the appointment of a new CEO, a new professional Board of Trustees and an entirely new senior executive team, David stemmed the losses within the organisation by completely revitalising Dementia UK’s fundraising strategy and eliminating non-core activities, delivering a near £1m surplus in the process.
The Judges were particularly impressed by David’s inclusive and consultative style with key stakeholders and his evidence based approach to strategy, ensuring that only initiatives with proven and measurable outcomes were considered by the Board.
Meanwhile his continued efforts to unify the segmented not-for-profit UK dementia movement, to avoid overlapping between charities and make them less conflicting, deserves special mention.
Described by the Judges as an inspirational, classic and serious Chairman, David’s significant contribution to UK health and social care policy and the not-for-profit sector over the past 20 years, makes him an extremely worthy winner of this prestigious award.
Sir Win Bischoff
The Judges unanimously declared Sir Win the overwhelming winner for the lifetime achievement award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the banking, capital markets and finance industries throughout his stellar career, not to mention his significant involvement in shaping government regulation and public policy over the years.
As well as his recent achievements as Chairman of the Financial Reporting Council in the UK and as Non-Executive Chairman of JP Morgan Securities, Sir Win has an unrivalled track record at leading complex international Boards in both the UK and the US, having held a total of 10 publically listed company directorships since 1983.
The judging panel specifically highlighted his pivotal roles at Schroders and later at Citigroup, which he saved from potential disaster at the height of the financial crisis. Meanwhile, his tenure as Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group received special mention from the Judges, given his instrumental role in appointing and standing by Chief Executive António Horta Osório, who ultimately turned around the bank’s financial performance and returned it to profitability.
Overall, his unique approach to corporate governance and public policy, his overwhelming contribution to the UK and international banking community, combined with his foresight and disarming character, stood him apart as the clear winner for this prestigious award.