The Institute of Directors (IoD) North West has hosted its first ever online Director of the Year Awards ceremony – celebrating the region’s best business leaders and their achievements in the past year.

Thirteen awards were presented virtually on the night, with an impressive eight of the awards scooped by Manchester-based businesses.

Accolades were presented to Manchester-based Matt Haworth of Reason Digital who won the Social Value and Sustainability Impact Director of the Year award; the 2020 Innovation Director of the Year award was awarded to Carolyn Willitts of Manchester-based CW Studio Ltd, followed by the International Director of the Year award presented to Paul Baker of St Pierre Groupe based in Didsbury.

Chukwudi Onwudiwe of the Chuck Gallery, Manchester’s first African art gallery based in Longsight, won the Start-Up Director of the Year award, the Third Sector Director of the Year award went to Gail Heath of The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid), while Susanna Lawson of Onefile Ltd scooped the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Director of the Year award.

The coveted Young Director of the Year award winner was announced as Lee Cunliffe of Sporting House in Manchester, and Public Sector Director of the Year award was presented to Ian Hopkins QPM of Greater Manchester Police.

Further congratulations on the night went to Helen Tonks of Hydraulics Online Ltd, based in Alsager, as she was announced winner of the Family Business Director of the Year award, with Andrew Preston of Knutsford-based Geometric Results International Ltd (GRI) recognised as Large Business Director of the Year.

Small-Medium Business (up to £50m) Director of the Year Award was presented to Ono Okeregha of Salford-based Immigration Advice Service and a special mention went out to those shortlisted for the Non-Executive Director of the Year award who each received a highly commended recognition, followed by the category’s overall winner James McMillan of Stockport Credit Union.

The prestigious Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice Award presented to Simone Roche MBE of Liverpool-based Northern Power Women. Simone, who was also recently appointed as Honorary Lieutenant Commander for Royal Navy and Royal Marines, was presented the award following her work in promoting gender equality.

Congratulating the winners, Claire Ebrey, regional director for the IoD, said: “While this year’s awards ceremony was very different than those in the past, we were delighted to have the opportunity to celebrate great Directors and quality leadership in the region – especially at a time when they are facing huge commercial challenges.

“The awards embody the IoD’s motto of ‘integrity and enterprise’. Establishing and running a business is no mean feat. Doing that in a way that shines in our region, captures the imagination of other directors, and exemplifies good practice is truly marvellous. I am very proud to know and work with these winners and wish them huge congratulations.”

The 2020 North West Director of the Year Awards were sponsored and partnered by: Kuits Solicitors, RSM, Rathbone Investment Management, Crowe, DIT and Salford Business School.

The full winners were:
Social Value and Sustainability Impact – Matt Haworth, Reason Digital
Family Business sponsored by Crowe – Helen Tonks, Hydraulics Online Ltd
Large Business – Andrew Preston, Geometric Results International Ltd (GRI)
Innovation – Carolyn Willitts, CW Studio Ltd
International sponsored by DIT – Paul Baker, St Pierre Groupe
Start-Up – Chukwudi Onwudiwe, Chuck Gallery
Non-Executive sponsored by RSM – James McMillan, Stockport Credit Union
Small – Medium Business, sponsored by Salford Business School – Ono Okeregha, Immigration Advice Service
Third Sector – Gail Heath, The Pankhurst Trust (incorporating Manchester Women’s Aid)
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion – Susanna Lawson, Onefile Ltd
Young – sponsored by Rathbones Investment Management – Lee Cunliffe, Sporting House
Public Sector – Ian Hopkins QPM, Greater Manchester Police
Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice sponsored by Kuits Solicitors – Simone Roche MBE, Northern Power Women


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