Finalists for the Orange Leader of the Year announced

 The finalists beat hundreds of top business leaders from all sectors to get to the final:
  • Ken McMeikan, CEO, Greggs
  • Martin McCourt, CEO, Dyson
  • Dame Fiona Reynolds, DBE, Director-General, the National Trust
  • Jeremy Lascelles, CEO, Chrysalis
  • Nick Robertson, CEO, ASOS
The Orange Leader of the Year award was launched in 2009 when it was awarded to Peter Marks, CEO, the Co-operative Group and is the only National Business Awards accolade that is voted for by the business community and the general public.
The 2010 finalists cover a wide range of business sectors and management philosophies, truly representing the nation and its drive to overcome challenges and succeed
in any business climate.   What they do share is the ability to lead a high profile business to success through a challenging economic climate. 
Ken McMeikan, CEO of Greggs plc, took on Britain’s largest bakers back in 2008.  Tasked with increasing fortunes, McMeikan embarked on an ambitious expansion plan which has resulted in high street domination in just two short years and during a challenging financial climate (last year an 8% profit was reported).
Martin McCourt, CEO of Dyson and Sir James Dyson’s right hand man, is applauded for heading up a company that has been called the star of the recession.  Dyson’s operating profits more than doubled to £190 million in 2009 as sales rose by 23% to £770m (from £90m on sales of £628m in 2008). 
Jeremy Lascelles, CEO of Chrysalis Group, Britain’s largest independent music publisher, has turned the company around since he came on board back in 2008, bringing it back into profit and leading one of the few music companies to have truly adapted to the new marketplace. In 2008, Chrysalis posted a loss of £18.8 million but in 2009, it announced a 16.3% increase in revenue to £62.9m and operating profit up to £3.3m from a £1m loss.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, DBE, Director-General of the National Trust, and first woman in the role since its foundation back in 1895, has helped to weather the economic storm by injecting fresh ideas into the organisation. 
Nick Robertson, the co founder and CEO of, the UK’s largest online-only fashion and beauty store, led a business to success during a challenging economic climate. In the year to 31st March 2010, ASOS delivered sales of £223 million, an increase of 35% and profit before tax of £20.3 million (up 44%).
In addition to sharing their thoughts on who they think are Britain’s top leaders and their leadership styles, the Orange Leader 2010 nominees, have also agreed to reveal facts on camera about themselves not previously shared with their peers or the wider business community. The public can view these short films and vote online at
Announcing the nominees, Martin Stiven, Vice President of Business at Everything Everywhere the company that runs Orange, said: 
“The Orange Leader of the Year award recognises exceptional leadership skills from a wide range of business sectors, across public, private and third sector.  Businesses that have performed the best over this very challenging year are those with exceptional leaders at the helm. 
Orange believes that leadership has a number of different meanings to different people. That’s why this year’s introduction of public voting is a real benefit – it’s important that everyone has a say in what they believe to be great leadership and have the chance to vote for who they truly admire.”
The Orange Leader of the Year accolade recognises and rewards innovation and excellence in business leadership and will be presented to the individual who best represents outstanding achievement and has demonstrated exceptional business acumen and vision over the last 18 months.
Both the judging and public vote will carry equal weight in the final award decision and the winner will be announced at the Awards gala dinner and ceremony on 9 November at the Grosvenor House Hotel, London.
To take part in the voting, which closes on October 28th  go to: