New Year Honours

King raises a glass to salute business leaders

Tim Martin is knighted, Amanda Blanc becomes a dame, Mark Logan receives the OBE

Pubs chain founder Tim Martin and Amanda Blanc, the head of insurance company Aviva, are among the business leaders named in the King’s 2024 New Year Honours List.

Mr Martin, who chairs the Wetherspoons group, is knighted along with Michael Eavis, founder and leader of Glastonbury Festival, and Stephen Hester, chairman of easyJet who was appointed chief executive at Royal Bank of Scotland after Fred Goodwin stepped down in 2008.

Mr Hester, a former investment banker, went on to turn around RSA Insurance Group and sold it to Intact, of Canada, and Tryg, of Denmark.

Other knighthoods include the Scottish author Alexander McCall Smith and the former UK Cabinet minister Sajid Javid.

Ms Blanc, who has been a staunch supporter of diversity and women’s rights and heads one of Scotland’s biggest employers, becomes a dame, as does Tristia Harrison, chief executive of TalkTalk, and the author Jilly Cooper.

This year there were 1,227 recipients, including CBEs for lyricist Don Black; the author Kate Mosse; Prof Peter Hollingsworth, director of science and deputy keeper at Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh; and Conservative MSP Liz Smith for services to sport. Charles Woodburn, the chief executive of BAE Systems, is similarly honoured.

OBEs are awarded to Mark Logan, the Scottish government’s chief entrepreneurial adviser and former senior executive of the Edinburgh search engine company Skyscanner; Sally-Ann Loudon, recently chief executive of the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities; Andrew Murphy, formerly chief operating officer at John Lewis Partnership and past chair of the Scottish Retail Consortium; Stewart Nicol, former chief executive at Inverness Chamber of Commerce; Graham Paterson, lately executive director, City Building, and Dr David Watt, chairman at Fife College and former IoD Scotland director.

liz smith
Liz Smith: CBE

Former Scotland and Rangers manager Alex McLeish receives an OBE, as does former British Lions player, Scotland rugby captain Rob Wainwright and Emilia Clarke, the actress known for her role in Game of Thrones. The veteran radio disc jockey Tony Blackburn is also given the OBE.

Among those appointed MBE are Catriona Campbell, UK&I chief technology and innovation officer at EY; Pam Gosal MSP, TV sports presenter Hazel Irvine; Scotland rugby international Stuart Hogg; England women’s goalkeeper Mary Earps; and Elizabeth Ovens, director at McCaskies Butchers in Weymss Bay, who, at the age of 79, still works 50 hours a week and also supports local and national charities.

MBEs were also presented to sports broadcaster Jeff Stelling and The Great British Bake Off judge Paul Hollywood.

Andrew Murphy
Andrew Murphy: OBE (pic: Terry Murden)

Among the senior honours, Welsh singer Dame Shirley Bassey has become the 64th living member of the Order of the Companions of Honour in recognition of her services to music. There can only ever be 65 members at any given time.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said he is “honoured and humbled” after being awarded the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire for services to rugby on the international stage.

Film director and producer Sir Ridley Scott, whose works include Gladiator, Alien and most recently Napoleon, has also been awarded a Knight Grand Cross, upgrading his previous knighthood.

Dame Margaret Beckett, the first woman to serve as foreign secretary, will become a Dame Grand Cross having already being made a Dame Commander in 2013.

In a statement, First Minister Humza Yousaf said: “Those recognised in the New Year’s Honours list have made exceptional contributions to communities across Scotland and beyond.

“These Honours are particularly important in light of the ‘giving’ theme and it is clear that all of the worthy recipients have given so much.”

He mentioned a number of those involved in literature, sport and public service, but did not name any of the business recipients.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said: “The New Year’s Honours List recognises the exceptional achievements of people across the country and those who have shown the highest commitment to selflessness and compassion.”

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