The Institute of Directors (IoD) has revealed the finalists for the Northern Ireland Director of the Year Awards in partnership with AIB, with a list that comprises some of the best performing leaders in the region.

The awards, this year marking their 10th anniversary, celebrate excellence across the public, third, and private sectors with judges choosing 42 entrants to make the shortlist.

In order to adhere with government guidelines on social distancing and to ensure the health and safety of participants, their families, and colleagues, the winners will be announced at a scaled down ceremony to be held at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast in September.

Gordon Milligan, Chairman, IoD NI commented:

“The last number of months have been extraordinary as we have all adapted to new ways of doing business and a new way of doing life in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“In many respects, it has brought out the very best in the Northern Ireland business community as some firms changed their focus to help the national effort to beat the virus, and many others pulled together to support each other financially and in other ways.

“It proved once again the tremendous calibre of business leaders in the region which will also be showcased at our annual Director of the Year Awards.

“Congratulations go to all those to have made the shortlist and we very much look forward to safely celebrating with you at our ceremony in September.”

This year’s shortlisted directors are:

Director of the Year – Non-Executive – sponsored by Deloitte

Diana Fitzsimons
Karen Furlong
Alex Lee
Paul Rothwell

Director of the Year – Innovation – sponsored by KPMG

Christine Boyle, Senergy Innovations
Daniel Crawford, Axial3D
Martin McKay, Texthelp
Mark Regan, Kingsbridge Private Hospital
Dave Vincent, Tourism NI

Director of the Year – Young – sponsored by Carson McDowell

Noeleen Breen, Sixteen South
Gareth Irvine, The Copeland Distillery
Paul Lawther, Onecom
Cara Macklin, Cara Macklin Coach
Glenn Speer, Fane Valley

Director of the Year – Public Sector – sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions

Ronnie Armour, NI Prison Service
Anne Donaghy, Mid & East Antrim Borough Council
John French, NI Consumer Council
Prof Nola Hewitt-Dundas, QUB

Director of the Year – Third Sector – sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions

Lynn Carvill, WOMEN’STEC
Alan Crilly, Triangle Housing
Mark Dougan, The Prince’s Trust
Harry McDaid, UCIT

Director of the Year – Family Business – sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland

Gavin Annon, Mount Charles Group
David Ausdahl, Lowden Guitars
Eugene Clarke, Clarke Facades
David Henry, Henry Brothers Ltd
Eddie McKeever, McKeever Hotel Group

Director of the Year – International – sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland

Terry Cross, Hinch Distillery
Kieran Kennedy, O’Neills
Brian Reid, Deli Lites
Alana Rodgers, Ulster Weavers

Director of the Year – Small to Medium Business – sponsored by Ulster University Business School

Noeleen Breen, Sixteen South
Eamonn Bunting, Outsource Solutions
Gareth Hagan, OCO Global
Sinead Higgins, Decision Time
Peter Thomas, DLRT

Director of the Year – Inclusivity – sponsored by ABL Group

John Healey, Allstate
Terry Moore, Outsource Solutions
Ciaran Moynagh, Phoenix Law

Director of the Year – Large Business – sponsored by Amplifi Solutions

Colin Johnston, Galgorm Group
Trevor Lockhart, Fane Valley
Michael McCormack, Musgrave Group

Also to be awarded on the day will be the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice, sponsored by AIB, while the ceremony will also see the inaugural presentation of the Philanthropist of the Year, Community Foundation Northern Ireland award.

Adrian Moynihan, Head of AIB NI, added:

“The last few months have delivered a serious test of leadership across all walks of life. As we emerge from COVID-19 lockdown and begin to focus on rebuilding the economy, strong leadership across the business sector will be crucial to our success. As we face the twin challenges of the pandemic fallout and the impending Brexit implications, what better time to recognise and celebrate the leaders making a real difference in Northern Ireland.

“This year’s shortlist is very impressive and highlights a clear commitment to strong and innovative leadership that is undoubtedly contributing to the success of their respective organisations and Northern Ireland as a whole.

“We commend all those who entered this year’s awards and look forward to joining with them and IoD to celebrate the exceptional leaders making a significant impact on Northern Ireland’s future success. While this year’s event may be delivered differently its purpose and importance has never been more relevant.”

The awards ceremony, which will be attended by finalists and sponsors only to ensure social distancing, will take place on Friday 11th September.