IoD Director of the Year Awards

Strong leadership remains key driver, says Watt

David Watt

David Watt: ‘Strong leadership remains a driver of performance’ (photo by Terry Murden)

David Watt, executive director of the Institute of Directors Scotland, spoke of the importance of strong leadership in driving performance as the organisation honoured 14 business leaders.

Speaking at the IoD Scotland Director of the Year Awards in Glasgow, Mr Watt, said: “These awards allow us to celebrate the immensely diverse landscape of businesses across Scotland, and the women and men who lead them.

“All of tonight’s finalists are effective and dynamic leaders, and their skills are vital to building Scotland’s future.

“Strong leadership remains a constant driver of performance amid overwhelming change inflicted by external forces such as economic and political uncertainty.

“These leaders are at the top of their game, and have much to share, not only within the confines of their business or sector, but also to society as a whole.”

For the first time there was no female director of the year award. The family business category was introduced for the first time.


Director (large businesses): Martin Armstrong, Group Chief Executive Officer, Wheatley Group

Director (medium sized businesses): Simon Erlanger, Managing Director, Isle of Harris Distillery

Director (small businesses): Celine Sinclair, Chief Executive, The Yard

Commenting on the three Director of the Year Award winners, the judging panel, which was chaired by Raymond O’Hare, stated: “Martin Armstrong’s long-term leadership of Wheatley has seen a radical transformation in the financial health of the company and the contribution it has made to Scotland.

“Simon Erlanger’s excellent use of community and people has built a sustainable company.

“Reaching more people is a huge objective for The Yard and Celine Sinclair is delivering this. Terrific performance across the board. She is a director who will go far and is an example to others.”

Awards were presented in a further six categories:

Emerging director: Andrew Morrison, Managing Director, AM Bid Services; Highly Commended: Struan Mackenzie, Managing Director, Hi-Fi Corner (Edinburgh)

Family Business: Mark Williams, Managing Director, NWH Group

Non-executive: Jeremy Brettell, NXD/Chair of Airdrie Savings Bank; Anderson Strathern Asset Management; Guarantee Protection Insurance; Transact; and Wesleyan Bank

Public sector: Marshall Dallas, Chief Executive, Edinburgh International Conference Centre

Third sector: Tom Halpin, Chief Executive, Sacro

Workplace innovation: Stephen Robertson, director and founder, Metis Partners

The winners of these Scottish categories will progress to the UK Director of the Year Awards, which take place in London in October.

Sir Timothy O’Shea: special award (photo by Terry Murden)

Two discretionary awards were made:

Chairman’s Award: Sir Timothy O’Shea FAcSS, FREng, FRSE, Emeritus Professor of Digital Education, University of Edinburgh

Young Enterprise Scotland: Chloe Fairman, Managing Director of West Coasters at Lochgilphead High and Taylor Henderson, Managing Director of Live, Laugh, Learn at Bo’ness Academy

Individual awards across regions:

Edinburgh, Lothians & Borders: Craig Anderson, Chief Executive, The Scottish Salmon Company

Fife & Central Scotland: Ross Turner, Managing Director, Span Access Solutions

Glasgow & West of Scotland: Ann Allen, Executive Director Estates and Commercial Services, University of Glasgow

Highlands & Islands Enterprise: Craig Ewan, Operations Director, Kingsmills Hotel

Tayside: Helen Sykes, Chief Executive, Helm Training Limited t/a Helm


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