Winner Testimonials


2018 Awards


Sir Peter Middleton

Winner, Lifetime Achievement

“I am honoured to be among the distinguished winners  this award. And thank you to Peel Hunt, the Sunday Times, and the others involved, for gathering the information and presenting it so efficiently. It was a very good evening.”

Martin Scicluna, Chairman, RSA Insurance Group

Winner, FTSE 100

Congratulations to all the participants in the NonExecutive Awards. Each year a large number of us  are nominated for one of these Awards, which confirms the high quality of people engaged  in our Boardrooms.  Thank you, Peel Hunt, the Sunday Times and other sponsors.

Vanda Murray OBE, Chairman, The Manchester Airports Group plc

Winner, Private/Private Equity Backed

“To be recognised by your peers is a huge accolade and I am honoured to receive this award. As a Non-Executive Director I have always tried to balance the needs of all stakeholders. Of course, a business needs to be strong, growing and profitable, but should also be conscious of its impact on all the communities it serves: employees, customers, suppliers, environment, etc.

These awards highlight the critical work done by NEDs and the important contributions we make”

Hattie Llewelyn-Davies, Chairman, Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

I am incredibly honoured to win this award at the Peel Hunt Sunday Times non-executive director awards. The award is a testament to the fantastic work of all the staff and my fellow board members of Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust; they are the ones who have truly made a difference to patient care over the past three years and I am proud to work alongside them.

 I am also delighted that the work of non-executives in the public sector is recognised and appreciated through the NED awards. People are often completely unaware of the impact of Boards have on healthcare provision and other services.

Malcolm Diamond, Chairman, Flowtech Fluidpower

Winner, FTSE AIM

Having never attended this event before, I was really impressed with the scale and quality of it, and at such a prestigious venue too.  Being nominated was an honour, and to win an amazing surprise, to the extent that I will make sure I support the sponsors next year and beyond.


2017 Awards


Derek Mapp, Chairman, Huntsworth plc

Winner, Quoted Company – Official List

I was surprised and delighted to win my award at this year’s NED Awards. Non Executives in my mind undertake their role, mostly discreetly, as part of a support team to achieve excellence for the company, its stakeholders and shareholders. This event is becoming a significant occasion to recognise and celebrate the contribution of good Non Executives and their contribution to a Board. In winning the award I hope it has the benefit of re-enforcing the value of an external and independent person working to the shareholders and companies best interests and by the recognition awarded through this competition it is a very valued way of success for those in this role. I would like to thank all of the sponsors for making these awards possible and hope it encourages many more into the role of a non executive  director and achieving excellence in that role.”

Baroness Sarah Hogg

Winner, Lifetime Achievement

” I’m overwhelmed! These awards are truly a roll of honour on which I’m so very, very proud to have been inscribed.”

Valerie Owen, Chairman, Swan Housing Association

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

I was delighted to be shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times Non-Executive Director of the Year Awards, and was even more delighted, and deeply honoured, to win!

Non-Executive directors have a key role in setting the strategic direction of a company; holding the executives to account for delivery; managing risk effectively, and in ensuring good governance. But for me, one of the most important roles for any Board is setting the values, culture and tone of the organization it leads. As Chair of Swan Housing Association, I know that winning this Award reflects the excellence of the entire Board and senior executive team, and I am proud to serve with them.

Many thanks to those who nominated me for the 2017 Sunday Times Non-Executive Director of the Year Awards, as well as to the judging panel and sponsors, for providing this opportunity for Non-Executive Directors to be recognized for their invaluable contribution towards making UK businesses such a success.”

Jonathan Milner, Non-Executive Director, SyndicateRoom

Winner, Unquoted/Private Equity Backed

“Thank you to Peel Hunt and the other sponsors for hosting these awards and it was a great evening. I was delighted to win this award but also the award recognises the incredible Executive team, Chairman and other NEDS at Syndicate Room who are amongst the most talented, fun and entrepreneurial people I know and without which, the Board would be nowhere near as effective. Special thanks goes to our CEO Goncalo de Vasconcelos for sponsoring me and being such an inspirational leader.

Roger McDowell, Chairman, Avingtrans plc

Winner, Quoted Company – AIM

“I’ve long been a supporter of the NED awards programme as the means of recognising the contribution – often behind the scenes- of Non-Executives to all manner of organisations. I was personally delighted to be nominated and humbled to be selected. Of course the real work is done by the team as a whole- I’m just an enabler.


2015 Awards


Sir John Parker, Chairman, Anglo American

Winner, Lifetime Achievement

I was humbled by my Lifetime Achievement Award and thank you to the Judges for the confidence you placed in me. Thank you also for the leadership of Peel Hunt in progressing thousands to the prestige positions they occupy today.”


Tim Mason, Chairman, Bonmarché

Winner, Quoted Company – AIM

“I was delighted to win the NED for an AIM listed company award as chairman of Bonmarché. It was a very big and impressive event at Claridges with high quality sponsors including the Sunday Times who did a very nice job covering the awards. I think this event plays a helpful part in causing us to think about the role of the NED and what makes a good one.”


Lady Barbara Judge CBE, Chairman, Pension Protection Fund

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

I am proud and honoured to have received this important award, but it is not mine alone.  The success of the Pension Protection Fund is a collective achievement.  We have an excellent CEO, as well as excellent executive and non-executive directors, and we all work as a team.

I would like to applaud the Sunday Times for recognising the importance of non-executive directors in connection with the success of the company on whose board they serve.  Their importance cannot be overstated at this crucial moment in time.”


Antonia Jenkinson, Non-Executive Director, Ocean Safety

Winner, Unquoted/Private Equity Backed

To win a NED award is an incredible honour. I have long felt inspired by members of the judging panel and my fellow finalists so I feel particularly proud to be recognised in this way. I would like to encourage as many execs as possible to combine their role with a NED role as it is one of the most satisfying and fulfilling aspects of my career.


2014 Awards

Mike Turner, Chairman, Babcock International Group

Winner, FTSE 100

“I was delighted to receive the award on behalf of the Babcock team, led by Peter Rogers. It is a testament to what they have achieved over recent years.”

Alice Maynard, Chair, Scope

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

“I was amazed and delighted to be a finalist in the NED awards. I didn’t for a moment think I would win as I was amongst such illustrious competition. When I heard my name, I couldn’t quite believe it!

It was a wonderful evening meeting lots of interesting people, and it gave me a real sense of optimism about the future of good governance across all sectors.

It’s a huge privilege anyway to do the job that I do. I love every minute, and to win an award like this for something I love seems almost unfair. I know that I wouldn’t be able to deliver as I do, though, without a really excellent Board and Executive team alongside me, so this award is for them too – but I’m still going to keep it on my windowsill!”

Baroness Ford, Chairman, May Gurney Integrated Services

Winner, Quoted Company – AIM

“I am delighted to receive this award in the AIM category and in thanking the sponsors, I would like to say that I regard it as recognition for the whole Board of May Gurney. The work we did to restore value was a genuine team effort and demonstrated to me how an experienced Board can deliver a powerful result when faced with a very difficult period in the business. We had patient, loyal shareholders and top class advisers who enabled us to deliver the right result for our shareholders, staff and customers.”

Gillian Wilmot, Non-Executive Director, Nisa Retail

Winner, Unquoted/Private Equity Backed

“I’m enormously proud and honoured to be recognised with this Award. The growing number of women in the Boardroom as Chairmen, NEDs and Executive Directors are making an important and positive contribution to business performance and governance.

It is great that more women and more NED’s with a marketing and commercial background are adding value to Boards and being recognised for their contribution.
It was wonderful to be nominated by my colleagues at NISA where we have made tremendous progress in strategy, leadership and governance.

Given the high calibre of the short list I was both amazed and delighted to win this award and to read the Judges citation.”

2012/2013 Awards

Sir Michael Rake, Chairman, BT Group


“I was greatly surprised and honoured to be nominated as NED of the year in the FTSE 100 category in 2013.  It has never been more important to raise the awareness of the importance of corporate governance, particularly as we move out of 5 years of recession and business reputation has probably never been so poor.  These awards are a way of underlining and recognising the skills and attributes needed to be an effective NED in today’s world.”

Elizabeth Padmore, Chairman, Hampshire Hospital NHSFT

WINNER, Not-For-Profit/Public Service Organisation

“While it may be accepted that non executive directors have an important role to play – using challenge and diplomacy to steer organisations in the right direction – it is not often publicly recognised. These awards celebrate what might be seen by many as an increasingly risky and thankless task. Personally it is a role I really enjoy and it was absolutely wonderful to be recognised in this way by my colleagues in HHFT. Quite the best surprise I have had!”

James Wallace, Non-Executive Director, Scapa Group

WINNER, Quoted Company – AIM

“Obviously I would like to thank Peel Hunt, all the other sponsors, judges, the Executive and Non Executive directors of Scapa. I am also apologetic for being unable to attend the ceremony last year in person to collect the award but it will be treasured by me for what it signifies. Successful NED’s develop a very different skill set than which they used in their business career. They have to learn to trust the executives and let them run the business on a day to day basis with input that will not always be followed. Once again thanks to all and I hope the award has many years to run as a recognition of what the NED’s bring to business and its success.”

Lord Robert Smith, Chairman, Weir Group

Outstanding Achievement

“Being recognised in the NED Awards is a fantastic achievement in its own right, but to be awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award, particularly in its inaugural year, is pretty special. I believe my talent is to bring both a fresh eye to each role I’ve undertaken and as time has gone on, the benefit of experience built up from witnessing good and bad thinking first hand across a great variety of situations. The devil is in the detail, however, so perhaps my talent really lies in the fact I am still an accountant at heart! The organisers do a great job in pulling together a fantastic evening and the awards are a great opportunity to celebrate British business. I would like to thank all of the sponsors and judges who made this event possible, and for selecting me to receive this very special award”

2011 Awards

Richard Olver, Chairman, BAE Systems plc

Winner, FTSE 100 and Overall Winner

“Being selected as the Peel Hunt Non-Executive Director of the Year was a great honour as it is always special to be recognized by your peers.  In fact, it was a tremendous privilege simply to be short listed alongside other industrialists and past winners for whom I have such a high level of respect.

After having the opportunity to recognize and celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of my fellow nominees throughout the evening of the awards ceremony, I can honestly say the last thing I expected was to hear my name called out!

The night itself was a brilliant opportunity to celebrate the collective accomplishments of the whole of UK plc.  Together, we’ve made great strides; from corporate responsibility, to diversity on boards, to transparency, to ethical leadership.  And no doubt the list goes on.  But there’s still more to be done… And that’s a challenge I look forward to tackling alongside all of the incredibly esteemed colleagues with whom I shared such a wonderful evening.

I firmly believe it’s important to note that in today’s modern world, very few things happen entirely of our own accord.  As a result, the best lens through which to view any accomplishment is frequently the one with the widest aperture, thereby also bringing into focus the teams with which we surround ourselves.  With that in mind, I would be remiss were I not to recognize my fellow NEDs and the outstanding executive team at BAE Systems.  Without their support, hard work and dedication, I can assure you; this recognition would not have been possible.

I would also like to thank Peel Hunt and all of the sponsors and judges who made this event possible, both for the recognition itself, but also, and much more importantly, for the energy it delivers to the non-executive community as a whole.”

Dr Martin Knight, Chairman, Imperial Innovations Group plc

Winner, Quoted Company – AIM

“I was very pleased to be short listed for the NED award and I was extremely gratified to have been nominated as the winner. The event was well organised and the turnout and the attention it received was well deserved.”

Nigel Keen, Non-Executive Director, Oxford Instruments

Winner, Quoted Company-Official List

“When I regionally heard that I had been proposed for the Award I didn’t pay much attention.  It came more into focus when I met with and was interviewed by Peter Lever of Heidrick and Struggles.  Prior to this I did not really mind about the outcome. However when I was told that I had been shortlisted I really did not want to come second (or for that matter third)!

The reporter from the Sunday Times did a really good job in the telephone interview and it was good to meet her on the evening of the Award Ceremony itself.  Her written piece in the paper was good and reflected the things we had talked about (which is not always the case with the Press).  The photographer came to my office to take some shots and that rather gave the game away as he told me that he only visited the winners!  This was of course great news and made the evening of the Ceremony itself very enjoyable.  It was good to meet many old friends at the very well managed event.  I met one person who had been the FD in the first management buyout I was ever involved in which was in 1980!

The amazing thing was that so many people saw the report in the Sunday Times and I had contacts coming back to me from around the world!

A very good happening thank you very much for including me and I am so glad I won!”

Hamdi Conger, Chairman, Mold-Masters

Winner, Unquoted/Private Equity Backed

“I was very pleasantly surprised to be appointed for the NED award, it was completely unexpected.

As having been a Chairman of many successful multi-national companies over the last 10 years, ones role is behind the scenes steering of the Board/management teams to create significant shareholder value, utilising the experience and wisdom gained from many years working in industry across the world.

I have always enjoyed the role of a serial Chairman and found it challenging, stimulating and sometimes frustrating , and to have won the award gives me a great sense of pride and recognition for the hard work done over the years.

I will never forget the great feeling coupled with nervousness while walking up the steps to collect the NED award.

I am grateful to the panel for nominating me and to my shareholders/boards for their valued support.”

Ian Church, Chairman, Central Surrey Health Ltd

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service

“I was very surprised – but obviously delighted – to hear that colleagues at Central Surrey Health had nominated me for the NED Awards. However, with a lengthy selection process that included short-listing, a telephone interview and final deliberations by a high profile judging panel, I was even more surprised to win the not-for-profit category. Whilst acknowledging that the award is made to an individual, in reality it is recognition of the efforts of the entire team at Central Surrey Health – the first large scale social enterprise operating in the NHS. We only started operations in 2006, and I know that awards such as this give a huge boost to a developing organisation.

It was particularly gratifying that the photo included in the Sunday Times highlighted the contribution of the front-line nursing staff – for it is their day-to-day contribution that makes the business a success.

The other point to make is the brilliant way in which Peel Hunt & the Sunday Times organised both the selection process and the Awards event – from the initial contact through various emails and phone calls everybody was really helpful and a delight to deal with.

Finally, I would encourage execs in the not-for-profit & charity sectors to nominate the non-execs they feel have been especially supportive in the last year. For most of us, it has been a challenging period, and I am sure there are many non-execs who have made significant contributions in difficult circumstances – they deserve to be recognised!”

2010 Awards

Mary Francis, Senior Independent Director, Centrica plc

Winner, FTSE 100 and Overall Winner

“I’m the first woman, and one of the few SIDs, to have won the Overall Winner category at the NED Awards. It was a great honour and a tribute to Centrica plc which nominated me.”

Barbara Scott, Non-Executive Director, Bexley NHS Trust

Winner, Not-For-Profit/Public Service

“Being short listed for the Peel Hunt Non-Executive Director of the Years Awards was a humbling experience.  When you are working towards a shared goal on a board, you are not thinking about winning awards or acclaim, your passion is directed at achieving the desired results.

When my name was announced as the winner, I was shocked.  I remember looking around the room and being amazed at the extremely high calibre of talent and experience of all those present and felt humbled.

To this day, I look at the award and the collaboration of sponsors and feel truly honoured that those esteemed judges saw the value in the work of my board.

I thank those who nominated me, I thank the Judging panel and mostly I thank Peel Hunt, for providing this opportunity to shine a light on hard working Non-Executives, whose work otherwise goes virtually unnoticed”.

John Gregory, Non-Executive Director, IS Pharma

Winner, Quoted Company-Official List

“When I knew that I had been nominated for an NED Award my immediate feelings were ones of surprise and pleasure. The dominant feeling at the time was of pleasure, because nomination comes from your colleagues and it is very gratifying to know those you work with closely value your input. However, the feeling of surprise increased significantly when the shortlist was announced and I appreciated that I had been independently judged alongside my peers and come out positively. Realising the calibre of those others selected on the shortlist, I was delighted simply to have been included, so when, on the night of the awards, I was announced as the winner of the AIM NED of the Year, my feeling was one of amazement. Subsequently I have come to appreciate the true value of this award and would encourage all Executive Directors on successful Boards to consider nominating those NEDs they work with and who they believe make significant contributions the success of their businesses.”