Business Leaders From Northern Ireland Among Winners At UK-Wide IoD Awards

Two business leaders from the north were among the winners at the UK-wide IoD Director of the Year Awards.

Denis Lynn, chairman of Downpatrick-based food manufacturer Finnebrogue Artisan was named Director of the Year for Innovation, while the north’s Chief Fire and Rescue officer, Gary Thompson won the title of Director of the Year for Inclusivity.

The accolades were presented at a prestigious awards ceremony held at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London last week. The finalists at the event, which recognises excellence across all sectors in the economy, were drawn from the winners of regional IoD awards.

Mr Lynn, who started his business in 1985 and has transformed it into a leading supplier of top tier sausages, bacon and venison employing 470 people, said he was “thrilled” to receive the award.

“We pride ourselves on making food the best it can possibly be, without being bound by the way it’s always been done.

“Our incredible growth in recent years wouldn’t have happened without the drive, ambition and extraordinary abilities we have amongst a team who continue to innovate and push the boundaries of what is possible.”

The award recognised Finnebrogue’s innovative Naked Bacon product, launched earlier this year – the first mass produced rasher to be made without nitrites.

IoD NI national director, Kirsty McManus passed on her congratulations to the local winners.

“The honours for Denis Lynn and Gary Thompson prove that local organisations from both the private and public sectors continue to punch above their weight on the UK stage and act as an endorsement of the high standards of corporate governance which local directors aim to achieve,” she said.

Since the inception of the IOD awards in 2010, local category winners have enjoyed unparalleled success on the national stage, with Northern Ireland-based business leaders taking home the overall Director of the Year accolade in two of the last four years.

Previous winners include Brendan McGurgan, CDE Global in 2016 and Simon Hunter, Hunter Apparel Solutions in 2015.