Two West Midlands businessmen were among the honours in the inaugural IoD Director of the Year awards.
Mike Phillips, of West Mercia Supplies in Shrewsbury, topped the Public/Third Sector category and Jason Wouhra, of West Bromwich-based East End Foods, was highly commended in the Family Business section.
Graham Honeyman, chief executive of Sheffield Forgemasters International, was named Overall Director of the Year.
Mike Phillips has held a number of senior procurement positions in both the private and public sectors during a career spanning 30 years.
In 2004, after a strategic review to establish the future direction of the organisation, he was appointed managing director of West Mercia Supplies, a purchasing consortium employing around 100 people and owned by four local authorities – Herefordshire Council, Shropshire Council, Telford & Wrekin Council and Worcestershire County Council.
It provides a range of office and educational products, supplying schools, colleges, local government offices and other non-profit making organisations.
The citation read: “Over the last seven years Mr Phillips has achieved profitability by using highly ethical global sourcing and capturing significant savings from volatile energy prices.
“During his time in the role the organisation has improved substantially.”
Turnover has increased from £24 million to £48 million and profits are up more than four fold.
Mr Wouhra has worked in his family’s business for over 12 years and is currently director and company secretary.
During his teenage years he worked part time during weekends and school holidays and joined East End Foods full time after completing his law degree.
He went on to attain a Masters in Commercial Law and also become the UK’s youngest Chartered Director in 2007.
The business was established in the late 1960s by five brothers including his father.
From a small corner store in Wolverhamptonit has grown to become the country’s largest importer and processor of ethnic food ingredients. East End Foods supplies products to over 80 per cent of the Asian independent retailers in the UKas well as Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Asda.
It now has an annual turnover in excess of £110 million.
East End Foods was recently the winner of the 2009 Coutts Prize for Family Business in the over £25 million turnover category.
Sheffield Forgemasters was in administration seven years ago but has been transformed by Mr Honeyman who led a management buyout in 2005.
Turnover has jumped from £38 million to £117 million with only an extra 25 per cent increase in the workforce. Sales per employee have nearly doubled and exports remain high at over 75 per cent.
The organisation has capitalised on new global markets, winning contracts with Chinese, Indian and Russian companies.