Renowned producer Lord David Puttnam CBE has been announced as the 2019 recipient of the TK Whitaker Award, in recognition of his outstanding achievements and contribution to the arts, education and climate change.
Established in 2016, the TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life recognises Irish and international social and political leaders who have been exemplary in their contribution to public life.
Since its inception, the TK Whitaker Award has honoured President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins in December 2016, Former Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD in 2017 and Former President of Ireland, Mary McAleese in 2018.
The TK Whitaker Award, established with the support of the Whitaker family, forms part of the Business & Finance Awards Programme which is now in its 45th year and is hosted in association with our partners KPMG.
Lord Puttnam CBE, chair of Irish-based online education firm Atticus Education, spent three decades as an independent and producer of an impressive list of award-winning films including Chariots of Fire, The Mission and The Killing Fields.
He was previously chairman and CEO of Columbia Pictures, from June 1986 to September 1987.
In 2006, after serving a decade as vice president and chair of the trustees at the BAFTAs, Lord Puttnam CBE was awarded the BAFTA Fellowship.
Lord Puttnam was awarded a CBE in 1982, a knighthood in 1995 and was awarded a life peerage to the House of Lords in 1997.
Now living in Skibbereen in west Cork, the British man focused his work in promoting and supporting education and environment, in addition to the creative and communications industries.
Appointed as Ireland’s first national digital champion in 2012, Puttnam spent four years in the role, raising the profile of national digital objectives.
He contributed to the development and implementation of the Government’s National Digital Strategy, which was launched in July 2013.
Puttnam’s interest in recruitment and practice in the education sector led to the establishment of the National Teaching Awards, an annual ceremony in the UK, in 1998. He also served for two years as the first Chair of the General Teaching Council.
His commitment to innovation in learning and teaching practices are evident in his current position with Atticus Education; continuing to deliver seminars to global universities from his west Cork home.
In 2007, Puttnam’s long-standing passion for safeguarding the planet was recognised when he was appointed Chairman of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Climate Change Bill in the UK.
He remains vocal on the topics of carbon reduction and strengthening government policies around protecting the environment for the future generation. He remains involved with a number of global bodies in this regard, including the Energy and Climate Intelligence Unit.
Announcing the 2019 TK Whitaker Award and its honouree, Ian Hyland said:
“I am delighted that David will accept this year’s TK Whitaker in recognition of his truly outstanding achievements and contribution to public life.
“David is a wonderful example how business success can be used to benefit the community and – in David’s case – his work for education, the arts and climate change has been inspiring. It will be a great honour to host David and his family in allowing us recognise him.”
Remembering Dr Ken Whitaker
Senator, civil servant and former Governor of the Central Bank, Dr Ken Whitaker was one of Ireland’s most outstanding public servants, whose 1958 Economic Development report led to Ireland’s First Programme for Economic Expansion, which opened Ireland to both global trade and inward investment. His impact on Ireland has been immense and to honour this, the TK Whitaker Award for Outstanding Contribution to Public Life similarly honours Irish and international leaders and their contribution to public life.
Some notable achievements in Dr Whitaker’s life include helping to establish the Institute of Public Administration and introducing a public sector university scholarship system. During the 1960s Dr Whitaker spearheaded Ireland’s path to joining the European Economic Community, leading delegations to European capitals, and meeting privately in 1967 with Charles De Gaulle.
Business & Finance Awards
The Business & Finance Awards in association with KPMG have a long history of recognising, honouring and hosting some of the most outstanding leaders in business, politics and society, including former US President Bill Clinton, Sir John Major, former President of Ireland Mary Robinson, Kofi Annan, Senator George Mitchell, former Taoiseach Enda Kenny, and Sir Bob Geldof.
In addition to the TK Whitaker Award, the 2019 Business & Finance Awards will present the second Sutherland Leadership Award to Mario Draghi President of the European Central Bank. The Sutherland Leadership Award was established in 2018 , with the cooperation of the Sutherland family, to honour one of Ireland’s and Europe’s greatest global business leaders Peter Sutherland. Its inagural honouree was former President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso.
This year’s Business & Finance Awards in association with KPMG will take place at the Convention Centre Dublin on Thursday, December 12th in the company of 1200 business, political and social leaders.