The Institute of Directors Northern Ireland in partnership with AIB has launched its annual search for Northern Ireland’s highest achieving business leaders.

The Director of the Year Awards 2021 will include a brand new Agility and Resilience category designed to recognise the achievements of business leaders as they responded to a year of adversity in terms of the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the implementation of the Northern Ireland Protocol.

The awards seek to reward the successes of directors representing a wide spectrum of businesses, organisations and sectors within Northern Ireland.

IoD NI chairman Gordon Milligan commented:

“The Director of the Year Awards provide us with the opportunity to shine a light on the high standards in leadership and business which we have here in Northern Ireland after what has been an unprecedented year for business.

“It is always important that our outstanding business leaders receive the recognition they deserve, but we believe that this is particularly essential as we begin to focus on post pandemic recovery.

“We are particularly pleased that this year’s ceremony will take place in person once again, having moved to a virtual setting last year.

“It is vital that we continue to support our business community in order to contribute towards the ongoing growth and development of the Northern Ireland economy and the Director of the Year Awards will allow us to do just that.”

The IoD Director of the Year Awards recognise the outstanding achievements and leadership of directors in Northern Ireland across 12 categories:

  • Director of the Year – Non-Executive – sponsored by Deloitte
  • Director of the Year – Agility and Resilience – sponsored by Schroders Personal Wealth
  • Director of the Year – Innovation – sponsored by KPMG
  • Director of the Year – Young – sponsored by Carson McDowell
  • Director of the Year – Public Sector – sponsored by Capita Technology Solutions
  • Director of the Year – Third Sector – sponsored by Capita Technology Solutions
  • Director of the Year – Family Business – sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland
  • Director of the Year – International – sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland
  • Director of the Year – Small to Medium Business – sponsored by Ulster University Business School
  • Director of the Year – Large Business – sponsored by ABL Group
  • Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Board and Director Practice – sponsored by AIB
  • Philanthropist of the Year – sponsored by Community Foundation Northern Ireland

Applications for this year’s awards are now open from until Monday 11th October. A shortlist will then be released prior to the awards ceremony which will take place on 25th November at the Merchant Hotel, Belfast

All Northern Ireland category winners are then shortlisted for the UK-wide Director of the Year Finals in London, providing the opportunity for recognition on the national stage.

Speaking on behalf of AIB, headline sponsor for the awards, Orla McGerr, Head of Direct, NI, AIB said:

“Given the challenges we have all faced in recent times, it is more important than ever to shine a light on the positive attributes of our successful local business leaders and entrepreneurs.

“From innovation and creativity to good governance and technical expertise, our local business leaders are adapting to the new challenges within their respective sectors and organisations and inspiring growth.

“AIB is delighted to continue our partnership with the IoD to help showcase leadership excellence at this critical time.”

The Director of The Year Awards are open to both members and non-members, for more information on the awards and how to enter please visit or