Phone giant Orange has today announced finalists for the coveted Leader of the Year Award ahead of its National Business Awards to be held next month.
Julian Dunkerton, CEO of fashion retailer Supergroup, has been nominated for the accolade, and is the only retail boss up for the top prize.
Recognising and rewarding innovation and excellence in business leadership, the award will be presented to the individual who best represents outstanding achievement and has demonstrated exceptional business acumen and vision over the last 18 months.
Dunkerton is the founder of the hugely successful Supergroup organisation, which owns youth brands Superdry and Cult, and has helped the Chetenham-based business build an international presence over a relatively short time.
He established the Superdry clothing brand eight years ago with James Holder and has worked exclusively in the retail sector for over 25 years, co-founding Cult from a market stall in Cheltenham and turning it into a successful retail chain.
Today’s announcement follows news that the Supergroup saw retail sales leap 51 per cent year-on-year to £34 million in the three months ending July 31st 2011, according to a quarterly statement released last month.
The current popularity of the brand may prove particularly beneficial to Dunkerton’s chances at the awards, as the public are able to vote on the winners in conjunction with a judging panel chaired by Baroness Virginia Bottomley of Nettlestone.
Other nominees include the CEO’S of Balfour Beatty, MITIE Group and Save the Children.
Bottomley praised the high quality of the nominees during such a challenging economic period.
“The economic climate continues to present UK businesses with an unprecedented challenge,” she commented.
“It is therefore particularly encouraging that the entries in this year’s National Business Awards have shown no drop in quality or performance.
“Congratulations to all nominees for demonstrating tremendous strength in their ability to adapt and innovate which no doubt reflects the resilience and optimism that are the hallmarks of UK enterprise.”
The winner will be announced at the National Business Awards gala dinner at the Grosvenor House, London on Tuesday November 8th, where George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will deliver this year’s welcome address.
Whilst this is to be the 10th annual National Business Awards, the Leader of the Year accolade was only introduced in 2009 and since that time has been awarded to Peter Marks, CEO of the Co-operative Group and current title holder Martin McCourt, CEO of Dyson.
Martin Stiven, Vice President of Business at Orange, announced this year’s nominees.
He said: “The Orange Leader of the Year award recognises exceptional leadership skills from a wide range of business sectors, across public, private and third sector. Businesses that have performed the best over this very challenging year are those with exceptional leaders at the helm.”