Search begins for the North East Business Executive of the Year 2014

The North East Business Executive of the Year has long been one of the most prominent events run by The Journal in association with The Gazette

John Duns of Brewin Dolphin
John Duns of Brewin Dolphin

The search is underway to find the shining lights of the region’s business community as we officially launch one of the biggest contests in the North East calendar.

The North East Business Executive of the Year has long been one of the most prominent events run by The Journal in association with The Gazette, as the annual celebration of the individuals who are driving the economy.

The green shoots of economic recovery that began to emerge last year have now been converted to healthy growth across all sectors – firms are flourishing, making investment for the future and cementing their stability.

And this year’s judges are keen to root out the independent business leaders who are confidently striving for further success.

In addition to the top award, there are trophies for the Young Business Person of the Year, who must be aged 30 or under, Non-Executive Director of the Year, which aims to recognise the vital role non-executives can play in the development of companies of all sizes, whether private, public or charitable organisations, and a Lifetime Achievement Award.

We also welcome back wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin as the associate sponsor of the competition.


John Duns, the firm’s business development director, joined the judging panel for the first time last year.

The director is responsible for leading and developing the firm’s brand and business in the region, as well as playing a vital role in growing business locally.

Last year’s experience on the judging panel left him in no doubt that the region’s privately-owned firms are in good shape.

He said: “I personally am amazed at the size of independent businesses I am coming across.

“Last year, my first year judging on the panel for the awards, we visited a range of businesses, some tucked away on industrial estates around Tyneside and Northumberland, that are doing great things – strong independent businesses working across all sectors.

“That is why one of the big important themes this year is celebrating the independent, privately-owned businesses that are aiding the success of the region.

“IT firms and technology companies are faring particularly well and while we always want the big names to be involved in these awards we also want to see the newer independent firms coming through.

“I go out to promote Brewin Dolphin and I’m seeing growing evidence of these types of business.

“As everyone knows this area has a strong public sector background, so people have to go out and set up on their own, and it has been very difficult for them.

“Awards like these bring them out, help them to promote themselves and, in turn, they get more publicity.”

As well as looking into a firm’s financial success, the judging panel will be looking for other elements including the contribution that company may make to employment, and the character and personality of the potential winner.

Duns said: “They need to have something special about them, be able to demonstrate a strategic approach and demonstrate that they have made a difference. What makes them stand apart? Have they been prepared to take risks that others may not have done? All of the previous winners fall into these categories.”

Employing 350 people, the Newcastle Brewin Dolphin office is the largest English office outside of London within the financial planning group.

Around 68 of the staff members are client-facing wealth managers, looking after the portfolios of around 4,500 people – a number they want to drive up, with our awards providing just the platform to achieve that.

Duns continued: “Brewin Dolphin wants to get into the position of managing money for senior executives and management teams.

“And as wealth managers it’s not just about the stocks and shares but a person’s whole situation – their pensions, life insurance policies and so on. That has ramifications for business owners.

“From our point of view here at Brewin Dolphin, we are seeing more and more successful independent company owners coming through, and we are trying to help them accordingly.

“At the moment we have around 4,500 clients but we want to grow our business, to grow money for these businesses. We support any initiative that showcases the work these firms are doing and awards like these give a momentum to these businesses, puts them on a parapet – and it’s great.”

The awards are split into sub-regional heats – Tyneside and Northumberland, Durham and Wearside and Teesside. The overall winner will be chosen from the top executives crowned for each sub-region.


The North East Business Executive of the Year 2014 awards are run by The Journal and The Gazette on Teesside, and are once again in association with wealth management firm Brewin Dolphin.

The top executive will be chosen from winners in three sub-regions - Teesside, Tyneside and Northumberland and Durham and Wearside. There is also a trophy for the North East Young Business Person of the Year, who must be aged 30 or under, the Non-Executive Director of the Year and a Lifetime Achievement award.

This year’s awards have been launched with help from a range of high-profile companies including Baker Tilly, Bond Dickinson, Muckle LLP, Newcastle University Business School and Teesside University.

The winners will be announced at a glittering black tie dinner to be held on Thursday, November 13 at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel, Gosforth Park.

The judging panel will be looking for nominations for the awards until Tuesday, August 19.

To make a nomination, reserve a table, or for further information go to

For updates via Twitter use the hashtag #businessexec

You can also contact Lesley Hampson, events manager, on 0191 201 6435 or email for more information.

Also read:

North East Business Executive of the Year 2014: Making a nomination

North East Business Executive Awards 2014: The Judging Panel

North East Business Executive of the Year 2014: Book your table for the event

North East Business Executive Awards 2014: The Roll of Honour



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