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CNBC Europe Names the Top European Business Leaders for 2008

CNBC Europe

Europe’s top business leaders have been named this evening at the European Business Leaders Awards 2008.  The annual awards, presented by CNBC Europe in partnership with the Financial Times, are based on nominations made by an independent group of CEO peers.

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Fiat, was honoured as the European Business Leader of the Year (sponsored by BT) and was credited for engineering the industry’s most dramatic turnaround. 2007 saw the company enjoy a 21% rise in revenues, with annual losses of €281m being transformed into profits of €291m. Judges were impressed with Marchionne’s outstanding skills in leadership, innovation and business transformation.

The European Business Leader of the Future was awarded to Aditya Mittal, CFO of ArcelorMittal, who has engineered cost savings of $1bn whilst simultaneously increasing sales by 21%. Judges noted that Mittal’s deal-making skills and strategies for integration have contributed to ArcelorMittal becoming the first steel company with a market capitalisation of over $100bn.

Entrepreneur of the Year was won by Natalie Massenet, Founder & Chairman of NET-A-PORTER.COM. Massenet has defied convention to create one of the fastest growing private companies in Britain. Judges noted her strategic approach to dilute competitor activity.

Other Awards announced this evening:

· Innovator of the Year was won by Dr. Mike Lynch, CEO of Autonomy, who was chosen for pioneering new approaches to search and information processing technology.

· Outstanding Leadership in Business Practices was won by Jean-Pierre Garnier, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline. The judges praised Garnier’s leadership during one of the toughest periods this sector has experienced.

· European Business Leader of the Year (Global/Local) was awarded to Nani Beccalli-Falco, President & CEO of GE International. Judges acknowledged the considerable success in leading the complex global operations of GE International.

· Outstanding Leadership in Environmental Practices was won by Ignacio Sánchez Galán, President of Iberdrola. Galán has proven that it is possible to generate profit from clean energy.

Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, Chairman of L’Oréal, received the Lifetime Achievement Award for his outstanding contribution to business growth, innovation and leadership displayed throughout his illustrious career. The Award, made on the recommendation of the EBLA 2008 judges, honoured his distinguished 39 year career at L’Oréal, where he drove sales of a few billion Euros to over €17bn and delivered 23 years of double digit profit growth.

Mick Buckley, President and CEO, CNBC Europe said: “The key difference between these Awards and others is that nominations are decided by CEO peers.”

Buckley continued: “CNBC Europe’s business is to track and report the movements and achievements of today’s business leaders. Today’s winners continue to prove Europe’s strength in the global economy.”

The Awards scheme, now in its fifth year, asks CEOs of the FT Europe 500 to identify and recognise their peers who they believe have built and sustain entrepreneurship, developed best practices and created powerful businesses in the global economy.  This year more than 200 CEOs were nominated (see notes to editors for a complete shortlist of nominations).

The 2008 panel of judges included EBLA 2007 winners: Tadashi Arashima, Guerrino De Luca, José Luis Duran, Alessandro Profumo and was chaired by Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust. The panel was joined by Lionel Barber, Editor of the Financial Times, Professor Seán Meehan, Professor of Marketing and Change Management, IMD, Frederick Kempe, President and CEO, The Atlantic Council and Barbara Stelzner, VP Director of News and Programming, CNBC Europe.

The Awards programme is presented by CNBC Europe and is sponsored by BT. Media partners are CNBC European Business, the Financial Times, FOCUS and TIME MagazineThe Awards will be televised on 16 March at 19.00 GMT on CNBC Europe.