The man who has overseen the transformation of the Port of Tyne has been crowned the winner of The Journal and Gazette Business Executive of the Year 2014.
Andrew Moffat, the port’s chief executive officer, took the top honour at a glittering black tie ball that brought to a close our search for the leading lights in the region’s business community.
Mr Moffat’s award was the last to be presented at the Brewin Dolphin-sponsored event, having earlier in the evening won the title for the Tyneside and Northumberland region,
Held at The Marriott Hotel in Gosforth, more than 350 high profile business leaders attended the night, where the guest speaker was TV personality Gyles Brandreth.
A relative newcomer to the maritime sector, Mr Moffat joined the Port of Tyne – the North East Company of the Year 2013 – seven years ago after holding strategic roles at Orange plc and Three mobile.
Since then he has been the driving force behind the port’s year on year growth affirming the company’s position as a vital cog in the economy of not just the region, but of the UK as a whole.
In April Mr Moffat was appointed chair of the British Ports’ Association (BPA), recognition of his contribution to a sector that supports 120,000 direct jobs and £8bn GDP.
Here in the North East, overseeing a workforce of around 600, Mr Moffat has steered the business to record growth in recent years, making it currently the UK’s fastest-growing major port.
The impressive list of statistics is endless: more than 640,000 vehicles were handled in the three car terminals, making Port of Tyne the UK’s number 1 for car exports, in 2013 turnover increased by 16% to £73m, and looking back over five years, it has nearly doubled.
But the most important measurement of the port’s impact in the region is through its contribution to the region’s Gross Value Added which was £507m last year – an increase of 38% since 2009.
Trinity Mirror North East’s regional managing director Russell Borthwick presented a very special award during the evening – the Outstanding Contribution Award to Brendan Foster, founder of Nova Group.
Mr Borthwick took guests on a journey through his career highlights, adding: “Unarguably his greatest legacy manifests itself every September, when thousands line the streets of Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside in the original, biggest, best and most iconic half marathon – an event that resonates around the globe.”
Earlier in the evening Judith Moran of Learning Curve Group took the prize as Durham and Wearside Business Executive of the Year, and Quorn Foods chief executive Kevin Brennan took the Teesside title.
Sir Nigel Sherlock was given a lifetime achievement award and Ben Staerk of the Furniture Clinic was named Young Business Person of the Year.
Journal Editor Brian Aitken said: “Of all the business events that The Journal and The Gazette put on, these awards stand out for one good reason – they’re all about people.
“The kind of people who have the drive, the energy, the talent and the ambition to push businesses forward through good times and bad. The kind of people who are leaders of men and women. The kind of people who are the powerhouse of the northern economy.”