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Stars of North West Finance Honoured at FD Awards 2016

THE top finance directors across the Liverpool City, Cheshire, West Lancashire and North Wales regions have been celebrated at the Finance Director of the Year awards, during a ceremony held at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool. 

Now in their sixth year – and supported by Accountable Recruitment, Grant Thornton, Hill Dickinson and HSBC – the prestigious awards celebrate the regions’ brightest and best FDs across both public and private sectors.

Abgail Draper, from environmental consultancy RSK, took home the top accolade for Overall Finance Director of the Year, while also picking up the Best Finance Director of the Year 60M + turnover. Draper joined RSK in 2011, at key time for the Cheshire-based company and oversaw refinancing to support its international expansion. Over the past five years she has provided the company with sound financial direction and RSK was this year awarded a prestigious Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade; the UK’s highest accolade for business success.

Liverpool Vision’s Daniel Kirwan was named Finance Director of the Year for the Liverpool City Region with Rob Jones of Jones Bros picking up the same award for North Wales and Mark Wynn of Cheshire West and Chester Council awarded the Cheshire West award.

A regional gong for West Lancashire was added this year and Carl Gibson from Edge Hill University collected the award.

Chargepoint Technology’s Chris Eccles picked up the Entrepreneurial/ Commercial Excellence award for his work in international pharma markets overseeing huge surges in sales of the company’s revolutionary AseptiSafe, and high containment PharmaSafe Pro valves in China, North America, Europe and India, which has resulted in massive investment in new premises for the Liverpool-based company.

Other winners included Grahame Henderson, of business waste recycling company Bagnall & Morris, who collected the award for Best Finance Director of the Year £30-60m turnover; Richard Donovan, ESL Fuels, awarded Best Finance Director of the Year £22-30m turnover; Rob Gaskell, Network Space, awarded Best Finance Director of the Year £10-22m turnover and Lorna Renton, John Sutch Cranes, picking up the award in the £11-20m Turnover category.

Best Finance Director Under 40 years of age went to Sara Boyd Skelmersdale-headquartered logistics company, Graylaw Freight, while Chester Zoo’s Liz Carnie collected the award for Best Finance Director of a non-profit organisation.

Simon Massey, managing director at Accountable Recruitment, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists and winners. Finance professionals have a crucial role to play in driving our local organisations forward.

Carl Williams, North West managing partner at business advisors Grant Thornton, said: “The UK’s decision to leave the EU has created uncertainty, but also opportunity. It’s never been more important for companies to have finance directors that can blend assured, measured guidance with bold commercial ambition. 

“The list of winners here this evening evidences that we have an array of talented individuals with these qualities and I would like to commend all of them on behalf of Grant Thornton.” 

“The judges had to decide between a particularly high standard of individuals this year, showing that our region has some of the brightest and best finance directors around. Their combined excellence results in a significant contribution to the regional economy and these awards are a fitting tribute to that.”

Tony Fulton, head of corporate banking at HSBC, said: “It was a very difficult task to pick the winners for each category from very competitive shortlists. Our region boasts some fantastic businesses and HSBC works with many of the companies listed. We know first-hand the hard work and effort that goes into operating successful businesses by these talented FDs. It was an excellent evening celebrating some great individuals and we congratulate all the winners.”

Mike Jones, corporate finance partner at Hill Dickinson, said: “The shortlist for this year’s award exhibited some outstanding talent, it was a tremendously difficult job to select the winners. These awards highlight not only the quality of finance directors but also the strength of the businesses we have in our region, which is something we can all celebrate.”

Please see below for the full list of winners for the 2016 Finance Director of the Year Awards:

Best Finance Director of the Year up to 10 million turnover:

Lorna Renton - John Sutch Cranes

Best Finance Director of the Year 10-22 million turnover:

Rob Gaskell - Network Space

Best Finance Director of the Year 22-30 million turnover:

Richard Donovan – ESL Fuels

Best Finance Director of the Year 30-60 million turnover:

Grahame Henderson – Bagnall & Morris

Best Finance Director of the Year 60M + turnover:

Abigail Draper - RSK

Best Finance Director of a non-profit organisation:

Liz Carnie - Chester Zoo

Finance Director of the Year Entrepreneurial/ Commercial Excellence:

Chris Eccles – Chargepoint Technology

Best Finance Director Under 40 years of age:

Sara Boyd – Graylaw Freight

Finance Director of the Year Liverpool City Region:

Daniel Kirwan, Liverpool Vision

Finance Director of the Year North Wales

Rob Jones, Jones Bros

Finance Director of the Year Cheshire West

Mark Wynn, Cheshire West and Chester Council

Finance Director of the Year West Lancashire

Carl Gibson, Edge Hill

Overall Finance Director of the Year

Abigail Draper - RSK