Director of the Year Awards

Foy and Speirs take top IoD director prizes

Alan FoyAlan Foy, CEO of Smart Metering Systems, and Sara Speirs, managing director of Spectrum Service Solutions, won the main prizes at the Institute of Directors Scotland annual Director of the Year awards.

Mr Foy (pictured) and Ms Speirs headed a list of winners which for the first time was dominated by females who picked up 65% of the prizes.

Mr Foy was named director of the year for companies with a turnover in excess of £15 million. Ms Speirs was the winner in the under £15m category.

Susan Deacon, chairman of the IoD in Scotland, who was a member of the judging panel, said of the two main winners: “The quality and quantity of entries received were of an impressively high standard this year, and Alan was a clear winner. Smart Metering Systems is a real Scottish success story, in no small part due to Alan’s vision and leadership. To have grown at this pace, to have listed and to have further substantial growth prospects is very impressive, and an inspiration to other start-ups.  Alan fully deserves to be recognised as outstanding.

“Sara Speirs has built Spectrum into a top-rated FM provider. She has a strong vision about where the business is going and a clear commitment to best practice and sustainability, values which the IoD encourages across its membership.  Sara has demonstrated a real ability to significantly grow her business, by focusing on employee development, quality and innovation. She is a very worthy winner of this award.”

Awards were presented in a further seven categories:

mclcreate Public Sector Director of the Year

Damien Yeates, Chief Executive, Skills Development Scotland


SCVO Third Sector Director of the Year

Jennifer Paice, Chief Executive, SafeDeposits Scotland


Badenoch & Clark Female Director of the Year

Louise Macdonald, Chief Executive, Young Scot

Angela Vickers, Chief Executive Officer of Apex Hotels Ltd, is Highly Commended



NHS Health Scotland & Carers Scotland Director Award for a Carer Friendly, Healthy Workplace

Sharon McKenzie, Head of Human Resources, Fife Council

Alastair Muir, Operations Director of National Air Traffic Services (NATS) Ltd, is Highly Commended



The Scottish Government Director Award for Family Friendly and Flexible Working

Bonnie Clarke, Director for Scotland, Badenoch & Clark


IoD Scotland Emerging Director of the Year

Magnus Houston, Managing Director, Coast & Glen Ltd


Bank of Scotland Non-Executive Director of the Year

Lesley Knox,

Non-Executive Chair – V&A Museum of Design, Dundee
Chair of the Grosvenor Group and Trustee of Grosvenor Estate, Edinburgh

Chair of the Remuneration Committee – Centrica plc

Non-Executive Director – SABMiller plc

The awards honour those individuals whose creativity, leadership and responsible business practices have led to success for their organisation and the communities in which they operate.  Categories cover large business, SMEs, charities and the public sector with a special emphasis on sustainability and working practices with special awards for directors that foster ‘employee positive’ policies.

John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy, said: “The Scottish Government is committed to supporting sustainable business growth, and fostering a fairer and more prosperous Scotland.

“The Institute of Director’s Scottish Awards provides an annual opportunity to showcase the innovation and excellence of Scottish companies that underpins growth in our economy and which I see regularly as I visit companies across Scotland. It is only right that we continue to celebrate their achievements and I congratulate all those nominated tonight.”

As well as the main categories, two discretionary awards were made:

IoD Scotland Chair’s Award

Ann Budge, Chief Executive/Chair, Heart of Midlothian Football Club


Young Enterprise Scotland Director Award

Betty Andrews, Managing Director, Fjara


Individual awards were made across the six regions:


Regional Director of the Year


Aberdeen & Grampian Regional Director Award

Edel Harris, CEO, Cornerstone


Edinburgh, Lothians & the Borders Regional Director Award

Craig Anderson, Managing Director, The Scottish Salmon Company


Fife & Central Scotland Regional Director Award

Bruce Tait, Chief Executive, BTA (Bruce Tait Associates)


Glasgow & West of Scotland Regional Director Award

Alan Foy, Chief Executive Officer, Smart Metering Systems plc


Highlands and Islands Enterprise Regional Director Award

Jennifer MacKenzie-Hallwood, Managing Director, TEFL Org UK


Tayside Regional Director Award

Eric Duncan, Managing Director, James Aimer Ltd


 A further two regional nominations stood out as showing exceptional potential in young, emerging directors:

IoD Scotland Regional Emerging Directors of the Year

Dr Margaret Anne Craig, CEO, Clyde Biosciences


Mhairi MacLeod & Alice Will, Directors, LUX Illuminating Brands Ltd



David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors in Scotland, commented: “We have been very impressed with the accomplishments of this year’s nominees and winners. We are also very proud to note that, for the first time, more than half of the winners are female directors – evidence that balance is translating to Scottish boardrooms.  That said, every winners’ story is an example of excellence in directorship that IoD Scotland applauds.

“What all winners have in common this year is vision and strong leadership, and the ability to recognise that any business is only as good as the capable and committed people who have the passion to make it succeed.

“We have been shown exceptional business success – whether this has been achieved by leading success in turnover growth, taking an organisation from local to global, innovating and creating world class products, excelling in customer service, creating opportunities and having a positive impact on communities, or striving for a healthier working environment – this year’s crop of directors has put Scotland on the world map, and are living proof that we are in an excellent position to compete on a global scale.”

Scottish category winners will also have a shot at the UK Director of the Year Awards, which take place in London, in October.

Susan Deacon concluded: “All the people we celebrate this year, whether from major corporates, family businesses, SMEs, the public sector, charities or social enterprise, are at the heart of driving the growth, innovation and collaboration which are key to Scotland’s success.”

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