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CNBC Europe Names the Top European Business Leaders for 2006

Europe’s top business leaders were announced this evening at an exclusive gala event to celebrate the European Business Leaders Awards 2006. The annual awards, presented by CNBC Europe, are based on nominations and judging by independent groups of CEO peers.

Carlos Ghosn, 52, President and CEO of Renault and Nissan, was named as the European Business Leader of the Year for his outstanding leadership and the results he achieved in the successful partnership between Nissan and Renault. The judges commended his transformation of Nissan, from near-bankruptcy to what is now a growing and profitable company, as well as his success in leading two global companies since May 2005. The judges assessed his achievements in a variety of areas including financial performance, management, innovation, corporate governance, business practices and accountability.

The Entrepreneur of the Year Award (sponsored by The Citigroup Private Bank) was given to Niklas Zennstrom, 39, CEO and co-founder of Skype Technologies. Zennstrom was cited by the judges not only for his achievements in creating a cutting-edge business that has revolutionised the telecoms industry, but also for the successful $4.1 billion takeover deal he brokered at the end of last year with eBay.

Sir John Bond, 64, Group Chairman of HSBC Holdings, received the Outstanding Leadership in Business Practices Award for his achievements in propelling HSBC’s growth through a series of outstanding acquisitions in America and Asia, and in creating what is now an internationally recognised global banking brand.

Other Awards announced this evening:

  • European Business Leader of the Year (Global/Local) – won by Michael Sherwood, 40, co-CEO of Goldman Sachs International, who was chosen as the most successful head of a global division of a non-European company. Sherwood has been at the helm of several significant acquisitions and his achievements at Goldman Sachs have made him one of Europe’s most powerful investment bankers.
  • Business Leader of the Future (sponsored by Aviva) – won by Klaus Kleinfeld, 47, President and CEO of Siemens AG. Judges commended him for overcoming considerable challenges within the business, early in his new role and for ending 2005 with a strong order book, which can be linked to the subsequent rally in the European stock markets.
  • Innovator of the Year (sponsored by IBM) – won by Noël Forgeard, 59, CEO of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, EADS. The Judges highlighted his success in posting the company’s best figures in 2005 and in creating a true European commercial champion to rival Boeing. His entrepreneurial innovation in establishing the new Airbus A350 in the marketplace was also praised.

Mick Buckley, President and CEO, CNBC Europe said, “This year’s Awards have identified a superlative list of achievers who exemplify the best in leadership. But what makes these Awards different, is that the winners and nominations were picked by their CEO peers from a diverse cross section of industries.

“It’s our business to track the successes of today’s business leaders, and I’m confident that those individuals we’ve identified tonight will drive Europe’s position as a major leading force in the global economy,” concluded Buckley.

Questions for the Future is an integral part of Shell International’s global corporate communications campaign because of CNBC’s senior corporate executive audience and its reach across Europe and Asia.

The Awards scheme, now in its third year, was created to identify and honour those individuals who are making a difference through leadership and innovation in their industry sectors.

The shortlist of nominations for the Awards was selected by a panel of CEOs from the Dow Jones Stoxx 600, who voted for two executives who they believed were leaders making a significant impact in expanding global business in Europe.

The winners were chosen by a panel of judges (who were last year’s winners). These included Lakshmi Mittal, Chairman and CEO, Mittal Steel; Sir William Castell, Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Officer,

General Electric Company and President and CEO, GE Healthcare; Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and CEO, Novartis AG; Dr. Heinrich v. Pierer, Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Siemens AG; and Sean Meehan, Director of the IMD MBA Program. The panel was chaired by Barbara Stelzner, Head of News, CNBC Europe.

CNBC Europe will broadcast exclusive coverage of the event including interviews with the finalists tomorrow, Friday 24th March, on it’s signature programme Squawk Box Europe, starting at 0700 CET, and in a special Awards programme broadcast at 2000 CET.

The shortlist of nominations for EBLA 2006 were:

European Business Leader of the Year

  • Philip Bowman - Allied Domecq plc jointly nominated with Patrick Ricard - Pernod Ricard SA
  • Lord Browne - BP plc
  • Carlos Ghosn - Renault SA
  • Alessandro Profumo - UniCredit Group

European Business Leader of the Year (Global/Local)

  • Philipp Justus - eBay Europe AG
  • Michael Sherwood - Goldman Sachs International
  • Johannes Huth - Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co
  • Amelia Fawcett - Morgan Stanley International

European Business Leader of the Future (sponsored by Aviva)

  • Gunnar Brock - Atlas Copco AB
  • Matteo Arpe - Capitalia SpA
  • Eckhard Spoerr - freenet.de AG
  • Klaus Kleinfeld - Siemens AG

Innovator of the Year (sponsored by IBM)

  • Rijkman Groenink - ABN Amro Holding NV
  • Noël Forgeard - European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS NV
  • Heliane Canepa - Nobel Biocare Holding AG
  • André-Jacques Auberton-Hervé - Soitec SA

Outstanding Leadership in Business Practices

  • Sir John Bond - HSBC Holdings plc
  • Gerard Kleisterlee - Royal Philips Electronics NV
  • Peter Bakker - TNT NV
  • Henri Proglio - Veolia Environment SA

Entrepreneur of the Year (sponsored by The Citigroup Private Bank)

  • Herbert Hainer - adidas-Salomon AG
  • Stelios Haji-Ioannou - easyGroup (UK) Ltd
  • Herbert Stepic - Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG
  • Niklas Zennström - Skype Technologies SA

For further information

CNBC Europe
Charlotte Blenkinsop/Hugo Foulds
+44 (0)20 7653 9448 / 9398

European Business Leaders Awards
Beverley Mason
+44 20 8255 8733

About EBLA

The underlying motivation behind the European Business Leaders Awards is to discover which CEOs are creating and sustaining entrepreneurship, developing best practices and carving out powerful businesses in the global economy. For more information on the Awards visit www.ebla2006.com

About CNBC Europe

CNBC Europe is the only pan-European real-time financial and business channel dedicated to European CEOs and senior corporate executives, the European financial services industry and the European investor. Today the channel is available in over 100 million homes, 1,400 banks and financial institutions and four and five star hotel rooms throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. CNBC Europe is wholly owned subsidiary of NBC Universal. NBC Universal is the broadcasting unit of General Electric Company (GE).

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