Three Kent business leaders have been named as finalists in this year’s London and South East Director of the Year awards run by the Institute of Directors (IoD) and sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.
David Byk, CEO of Swan Mill Paper Company, Swanley, is a finalist in Director of the Year of a Company with a turnover of £10m-£59.99m and Family Business Director of the Year categories; Frazer Thompson, CEO of Chapel Down Group, Tenterden, features in the Director of the Year of a company with a turnover of up to £9.99m category; and Emily Kettle, Managing Director of Facts International of Ashford, is shortlisted in the Young Director of the Year category;
Swan Mill Paper Company Limited is a market leader in the disposable tableware industry and manufactures products for the catering and retail sectors plus offers a design led range of wrapping paper, gift packaging, party products, Christmas crackers and decorations.
David Byk said: “I am very pleased to be shortlisted for these categories as this is a real complement and a validation of all the hard work, initiatives and progress we have made over the past few years to establish ourselves as a fast growing, profitable focused international business.”
“I consider it to be a complement and accolade not only for myself but the whole team that ensures Swan Mill is successful.
“I see this achievement as being even more meaningful as our core business is manufacturing within the M25 with all the extra challenges this brings.
“Over the last few years we have really developed this business which includes buying one of our major napkin competitors and integrating it into our Kent factory, setting up a Hong Kong office, developing a new home baking business and supplying around the world from our new JV factory in China and also on-shoring tinsel manufacture to our Welsh factory to support a new Christmas decorations division that will turn over more than £3 million in its second year of operation.
“As a family business established in 1892 I consider myself lucky to have access to the capital to be able to invest and am unfettered by bureaucracy which allows us to make good fast commercial and entrepreneurial decisions.
“We employ 250 people around the world and they have all played a part in the company’s success and thus my success. Being shortlisted for these awards, to me, is recognition of the team’s hard work and endeavors.”
The Chapel Down Group, produces gold medal winning wines with grapes from its Kentish vineyards.
Frazer Thompson commented: “I feel humbled by the nomination and being short-listed. I’m always slightly embarrassed to accept personal awards as it’s really a reward for the whole team here at Chapel Down.
“They have been on this incredible journey with me every step of the way and it has been a rocky road at times. It’s their passion, their energy and their creativity that have made us what we are and that’s what you get when you open a bottle of Chapel Down or Curious Brew.
“For all of us, it’s not just about being the best we can be. It’s about being the only people who can do what we do.”
Facts International is one of the UK’s leading field research providers, providing market research to businesses and agencies around the world, including face to face interviewing, telephone interviewing, online surveys, Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and mystery shopping research.
Emily Kettle commented: “I am absolutely delighted to have been short-listed for these awards. They are judged by some of the UK’s most successful business people and it’s a real accolade to be considered.”
“I believe our significant growth over the last few years has been down to the team’s hard work in retaining and winning new business despite tough competition but also our global expansion into Australia.”
“This year, 300 directors names were put forward, from which we had just under 100 entries to consider for the awards,” said Rodger Broad, Director of the IoD South. “After some difficult decisions, the Judges have whittled this down to 21 finalists across eight categories.”
John Minards, South East Regional Leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, major sponsors of the competition, said: “The IoD awards celebrate some of the finest Directors in our region who, in spite of the challenging backdrop, have demonstrated exceptional leadership and best in class performance.
“The quality and depth of the individuals short-listed for the awards leaves me confident that our region will continue to grow in 2014 and beyond.”
The Kent finalists and others from across the whole of London and the south east of England will find out if they have been successful at the sold out Awards Gala Dinner in June, in the prestigious surroundings of the Nash Room at the Institute of Directors in Pall Mall, London.