The Business & Finance Awards, in association with KPMG, celebrates 46 years with virtual ceremony

Business & Finance Awards, Irish News | Wed 24 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
Business & Finance Awards winners

The Business & Finance Awards, in association with KPMG, celebrated 46 years of honouring excellence in business yesterday evening in a virtual ceremony

Awards were bestowed across five categories including: The 2020 Company of the Year in association with KPMG; Business Person of the Year in association with KPMG; Elevation Award in association with Enterprise Ireland; FDI of the Year in association with IDA Ireland and the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Award.

Sarah Freeman, Managing Editor of the Business & Finance Media Group, welcomed attendees in an address that noted the changing circumstances under which the awards were being presented: “We’re delighted to continue the awards’ longstanding tradition, and celebrate with you all in this, our new virtual world.”

The theme for the 2020 awards was ‘Reimagine, Reboot, and Reinvent,’ and the Business & Finance Media Group celebrated businesses doing just that, as these concepts were woven throughout the ceremony with contributions from special guests, including Colin Hunt, CEO of AIB, Devan Hughes, CEO & Co-Founder of Buyme, Cian Ó Maidín, CEO of NearForm, Danny McCoy, CEO of Ibec, Margaret Sweeney, CEO of Ires Reit, Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, and more.

Ian Hyland, President & Publisher of the Business & Finance Media Group, Ireland INC, and Board Member of the UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, addressed attendees before the awards were presented: “This time last year, very few could have imagined the challenges that lay ahead for the Irish business community.”

He continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it the greatest period of volatility and uncertainty in a generation, but with these challenges, Irish businesses have rebooted, reimagined and rebuilt, and over the past year, we have witnessed some really inspiring journeys.”

We see the true strengths of our organisations when they’re under stress

This Year’s Recipients

The Elevation Award, in association with Enterprise Ireland, was launched in 2018. This award recognises Irish companies that are fast-growing and with significant potential to continue to scale globally, focused on Irish companies achieving up to €350m in revenue. The Award complements the well-established Company of the Year Award which recognises Irish companies above this revenue threshold.

Kevin Sherry, Executive Director Global Business Development at Enterprise Ireland, announced this year’s winner, which was specialty medical device company Aerogen. John Power, CEO of Aerogen, accepted the award on behalf of the company’s global team. “We see the true strengths of our organisations when they’re under stress,” he said.

The FDI of the Year award, in association with IDA Ireland, was presented by IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan, who announced this year’s recipient, Sky Ireland. JD Buckley, CEO of Sky Ireland, accepted the award on behalf of his 950 colleagues. “Sky has been investing significantly in our Irish business over the last ten years,” he noted.

Anne O'Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland

Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland

Vodafone Ireland was the winner of this year’s Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Award. Now in its second year, the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Award was established as part of the Business & Finance Awards programme to recognise a company with Irish operations that is at the forefront of improving the lives of its employees, while also enhancing the civic environment in which they operate. The award was presented by Seamus Hand, Managing Partner at KPMG Ireland, to Anne O’Leary, CEO of Vodafone Ireland, who noted that she was delighted to accept the award on behalf of everyone at Vodafone.

An Post won Company of the Year, in association with KPMG. The Company of the Year award recognises the company which best demonstrates outstanding business leadership, sustainable growth, innovative strategy, strong financial returns and employee development. Seamus Hand, Managing Partner at KPMG Ireland, presented the award to David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, who said: “2020 is really the year we lived up to our purpose. Our purpose is to act for the common good now, and for generations to come.”

Tommy Kelly, CEO of eShopWorld, won the coveted Business Person of the Year award, in association with KPMG. This award seeks to recognise noteworthy achievements in business leadership, and, particularly, those that make a telling contribution to the wider business community in Ireland. The award was presented to Mr Kelly by Seamus Hand, Managing Partner at KPMG Ireland. Mr Kelly said he was “totally surprised” to receive the award, but noted it was a “great honour and pleasure.”

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post

To each of the winners we say well done for your exceptional business performance and your exemplary leadership.

Attendees also viewed a panel discussion titled ‘Scaling Your Business in 2021.’ Moderated by Olivia Lynch, Tax Partner at KPMG, panelists included Fiona Dawson, President of Global Food, Multisales, and Global Customers at Mars, and Non-Executive Director at Lego, JD Buckley, CEO of Sky Ireland, and Eddie O’Connor, Executive Chairman of Mainstream Renewable Power.

Speaking to Business & Finance after the ceremony, Seamus Hand said: “Congratulations to all of the winners of the Business & Finance Awards in association with KPMG. In what has been a challenging time for so many, the calibre of those shortlisted in every category has been very impressive.

“To each of the winners we say well done for your exceptional business performance and your exemplary leadership. On behalf of everyone at KPMG we wish you continued success in the year ahead.”

Speaking about this year’s winners, Ian Hyland, Publisher of Business & Finance Media Group said: “We are thrilled and incredibly proud to be hosting the 46th annual Business & Finance Awards along with our partners KPMG. This year reflects an extraordinary time for Entrepreneurs, CEO’s and their leadership teams who have shown agility, resourcefulness and innovation in adapting to the global marketplaces.

“This was reflected in the calibre of nominations across all categories considered by the judging panel in what has been an unprecedented period, proving that it is not about surviving but rather thriving. ‘Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking’ – W.B Yeats”.

The Business & Finance Awards 2020, in association with KPMG, is available to stream on demand on the Business & Finance Awards website.