Gordon Milligan and Orla McGerr
Gordon Milligan and Orla McGerr

The leader of one of Northern Ireland’s largest companies has been honoured at the annual Institute of Directors Northern Ireland (IoD NI) Director of the Year Awards, sponsored by AIB.

Kainos Group CEO Brendan Mooney, was presented with the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice at the ceremony, held virtually for the first time due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm, which floated on the London Stock Exchange in 2015, is headquartered in Belfast and provides digital technology services for organisations within the public, healthcare and financial sectors across the globe.

Brendan, who joined the firm as a trainee more than 30 years ago was presented with the award along with 11 other business leaders who were recognised across various categories.

Other recipients included Michael McCormack of Musgrave Group who was named the Large Business Director of the Year award while David Henry of Henry Brothers received the Family Business Director of the Year Award.

This year’s full winners were:

Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice, sponsored by AIB – Brendan Mooney, Kainos Group

Director of the Year – Non-Executive, sponsored by Deloitte – Diana Fitzsimons

Director of the Year – Innovation, sponsored by KPMG – Daniel Crawford, Axial3D

Director of the Year – Young, sponsored by Carson McDowell – Glenn Speer, Fane Valley

Director of the Year – Public Sector, sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions Professor Nola Hewitt Dundas – Head of Management School, QUB

Director of the Year – Third Sector, sponsored by Capita Managed IT Solutions – Lynn Carvill, WOMEN’STEC

Director of the Year – Family Business, sponsored by BDO Northern Ireland – David Henry, Henry Bros

Director of the Year – International, sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland – Brian Reid, Deli-Lites

Director of the Year – Small to Medium Business, sponsored by Ulster University Business School – Sinead Higgins, Decision Time

Director of the Year – Inclusivity, sponsored by ABL Group – John Healy OBE, Allstate

Director of the Year – Large Business, sponsored by Amplifi Solutions – Michael McCormack, Musgrave Group

The inaugural Philanthropist of the Year, Community Foundation Northern Ireland award, which was awarded to Alan Nappin of the ARN Foundation.

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Gordon Milligan, IoD NI Chairman, said:

“Now employing over 1,700 people, Kainos is one of Northern Ireland’s most successful and progressive companies.

“I am therefore privileged to present the Chairman’s Award for Excellence in Director and Board Practice to Brendan Mooney to acknowledge the tremendous contribution he has made to not just Kainos, but the entire local economy over more than three decades.

“A huge congratulations to all this year’s winners, once again proving that the economy here in Northern Ireland benefits from a wealth of leadership talent across the private and public sector, each of them performing to the very highest standards.”

In 2019, Kainos became the first tech company from Northern Ireland to be promoted to the FTSE 250 index and in January this year, reached a stock market valuation of more than £1 billion – a huge milestone for one of Northern Ireland’s home-grown companies.  

Brendan Mooney added:

“It is an honour to be this year’s recipient of the Chairman’s award in Director and Board Practice.

“The award reflects the hard work, dedication and innovation of the entire company, as we continue to deliver some of the largest and most high-profile IT systems for clients in the UK, Europe and in the US. This has been demonstrated so many times in the last six months – the response of our people and of our customers has been fantastic.

“I would like to take the opportunity to congratulate all the other category winners on their well-deserved awards and salute their significant contribution to the business community and wider society here in Northern Ireland.”

Speaking about their support for the awards Brian Gillan, Head of Retail & NI, AIB UK, said:

“Leadership has been seriously tested in the last few months across all walks of life and will be crucial as we tackle the twin challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic fallout and the impending Brexit implications. As we emerge from lockdown and begin to focus on rebuilding the economy, what better time to recognise and showcase the leaders making a real difference here in Northern Ireland.

“We are proud to support the IoD Director of the Year Awards once again and view it as an important platform to do just that. We would like to congratulate Brendan Mooney and indeed all the category winners on their exemplary leadership skills. They all demonstrate 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. Celebrating their achievements at this time will hopefully encourage others to follow suit and invest in their own leadership journeys.”

Also presented during the ceremony, the inaugural Philanthropist of the Year, Community Foundation Northern Ireland award, which was awarded to Alan Nappin of the ARN Foundation.