Strategy & Operations » Leadership & Management » Director of the Year award is a win for third sector

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has presented Claire Horton, Chief Executive of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home, with their Director of the Year award.

The IoD commended Horton for ‘demonstrating that good governance is not just important in the corporate world, but is essential for all boardrooms, including those of charities and not-for-profit organisations.’

Ms Horton, who has been in the Chief Executive role since 2010, also won the Public and Third Sector Director of the Year award, given out for those who can demonstrate that, through their direct leadership, their business has made a positive impact on the local community, wider society and/or the environment.

“The judges were very impressed by Claire, who embodies the entrepreneurial spirit and strategic thinking needed in the every-changing charity sector.”

Janet McCollum, CEO of food production company, Moy Park, who won the award for Large Company Director of the Year, was highly commended in the Director of the Year award.

The awards bring together finalists from regional heats across the UK, in categories ranging from Early Stage Start-ups, to Family Business and Large Company Directors.

Nathan Warren, board director at charity Sanctuary Group, beat the competition to scoop the New Chartered Director of the Year award, by scoring higher than any other candidate in the IoD’s exams to achieve the IoD’s Chartered Director qualification.

The IoD is also paving the way for a step-change in business attitudes towards disability, with the introduction of a new Disability Confidence Award.

Mike Adams OBE, CEO of Purple, collected the prize, in recognition of his mission to “change the conversation on disability” by helping to bring down the barriers to recruiting from the vast talent pool within Britain’s 11.5 million disabled people, 79% of whom do not have a job.

As chief executive, Mr Adams has transformed a regional business run solely by disabled people, into a national not-for-profit organisation.

Picking up his award, Mr Adams said: “In Aesop’s fables the lesson was kindness is better than force and as I stand up here today I think it is the same for business.

“I am absolutely determined that we will change the conversation about disability in business.”

He continued by praising the IoD, saying: “My challenge is to follow the IoD and become disability confident.

If I have the honour of being up here presenting this award next year, I would like to 20 of you nominated for Disability Employment Director of the Year Award.”

Other winners include founder and Chairman of Ella’s Kitchen, Paul Lindley, while it was another win for an animal-centric business, with Managing Director of Chester Zoo, Jamie Christon, winning the  Mid Market Company Director of the Year Award.

Stephen Martin, Director General of the IoD, said: “Congratulations to all of the winners today for their contributions to business and their communities. Success is built on great leadership and it is important to reward those people have made outstanding contributions to their sector.

“This year seems to demonstrate the importance of governance in not just corporate boardrooms and that is something to be proud of.

“Like business, the third sector has too suffered its own charity governance setbacks, but this is exactly why today shows that both businesses and charities alike, when run effectively, can benefit everyone.

“It is also a great honour to be able to give the IoD’s first Disability Confidence Award to someone who has dedicated so much time and effort to this cause. I cannot think of anyone more deserving.

“More and more directors understand that opening up their companies and their businesses to disabled employees and consumers is important.

“The IoD has a big role to play in ensuring that busy directors have the tools and wherewithal to begin these conversations in the boardroom or with their staff in order to drive change in both individual attitudes and wider cultural perceptions.

“I am proud that the IoD itself has become Level 2 Disability Confident, and I look forward to working with the recipient of this award in getting our status to Level 3.”

The Iod has undergone a shift in culture, appointing new Director General, Stephen Martin, and introducing a new membership, IoD 99, to allow founders and entrepreneurs with an annual turnover under £3 million to access to the resources and support network needed to scale up, as well as the launch of a new state-of-the-art training Academy that was opened this September.


Full list of winners:


Public & Third Sector Claire Horton Chief Executive, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
Leadership in Corporate Responsibility Patrick Nash Chief Executive, Connect Assist
Family Business Gareth Loye CEO, M&M Contractors
Early Stage Business Sonia Cottom Director, Pain Association Scotland
New Chartered Director Nathan Warren Group Director, Sanctuary Housing
International Paul Lindley Founder & Chairman, Ella’s Kitchen
Young Marc Wileman Director, Sublime Science
Student Alex Gatehouse Co-founder, Head of Growth, Pelico
SME Tim Crowley, Managing Director, La Mare Vineyards Ltd Managing Director, La Mare Vineyards Ltd
Mid-Market Jamie Christon Managing Director, Chester Zoo
Large Company Janet McCollum Chief Executive, Moy Park
Non-Executive Director Chris Brindley Chairman (NED), GreaterSport
Disability Confident Mike Adams Chief Executive, Purple


Claire Horton Chief Executive, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home