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CNBC names the top European Business Leaders


Europe’s top business leaders have been named this evening at the CNBC European Business Leaders Awards 2010.  The annual awards, presented by CNBC in partnership with the Financial Times, are based on nominations made by an independent group of CEOs.

Graham Mackay, CEO of SABMiller was honoured as Business Leader of the Year.  Under Mackay’s leadership, SABMiller has protected itself from the worst of the downturn, seeking revenues from emerging markets, where it has developed locally-relevant brands and decentralised decision making.  Mackay was acknowledged by the judges for doing an ‘amazing job’ with SABMiller and for his ‘outstanding’ leadership and performance.

Business Leader of the Future was awarded to Angela Ahrendts, CEO of Burberry, who under her leadership has grown revenues more than 40% and increased profits by 30%.  In 2009 retail revenue growth in Europe and Asia was in double digits and led the company into the FTSE 100 - the first British fashion company to do so.  Ahrendts was recognised by the judges has having “re-invented the Burberry brand” and for “managing the brand globally with extraordinary focus.”

Innovator of the Year was won by Mario Moretti Polegato, Chairman and founder of Geox Group, who has built the company, using his unique perforated sole technology, to become the second largest brand in the global casual footwear market.  He has since expanded into clothing and is developing a new line of sports shoes.  The judges noted that Polegato had ‘broken new ground’ and done ‘a great job’ in developing a fashionable brand with new technology.

Other Awards announced this evening:

·         Entrepreneur of the Year was won by Ross Brawn, Team Principle of Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One, who with a management takeover Honda’s racing team, created Brawn and then went on to win the drivers’ and constructors’ championships.

·         Business Leader of the Year - Global/Local was awarded to Ryoichi Bamba, President & CEO of Canon Europe for leading the European operations of a non-European company, growing its share of the market.

·         Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Practices was won by Gerard Kleisterlee, CEO of Philips.  Judges recognised Kleisterlee’s ‘visionary leadership’ and as being
‘a great, great leader in Europe.’

·         Philanthropist of the Year was awarded to Zarine Kharas & Anne-Marie Huby, co-founders of JustGiving who the judges recognised as being ‘two visionary leaders, who have dedicated themselves to the not for profit sector’ and for developing a which ‘really filled the gap’ to making donations easy.

Mick Buckley, President and CEO, EMEA at CNBC said: “As businesses learn to adapt to the macroeconomic uncertainty that continues to pervade the global economy, the need for effective and strong leadership remains.  Strong corporate leadership plays an even more critical role today, so it’s important to recognise and celebrate excellence in leadership.”

Buckley continued: “But what makes these Awards stand out is that the CEOs are nominated and judged by their peers.  Today’s winners continue to prove Europe’s strength in the global economy.”

The CNBC EBLA, now in its seventh year, are a chief executive peer-to-peer Awards based on nominations made by European CEOs from within the FT Global 500.  CEOs voted for two chief executives in each category who they believe are leaders making a significant impact in expanding global business in Europe.  This year more than 200 nominations were received (see notes to editors for a complete shortlist of nominations).

The 2010 panel of judges included of EBLA 2009 winners includingJames Murdoch (News Corporation); Bart Becht (Reckitt Benckiser); Denis Hennequin (McDonald’s Europe); Peter Brabeck-Letmanthe (Nestlé); Sergio Marchionne (Fiat Group); Paul Barry-Walsh (Fredricks Foundation).  Other judges were Professor Seán Meehan (IMD); Lionel Barber (Financial Times); Barbara Stelzner (CNBC) and the panel’s chair, Sir William Castell, Chairman of the Wellcome Trust.

The Awards programme is presented by CNBC, in partnership with the Financial Times.  Media partners are CNBC Business magazine and TIME Magazine.

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CNBC EBLA 2010 shortlist of nominations were:

European Business Leader of the Year

Peter Loescher, Siemens

Graham Mackay, SABMiller

Entrepreneur of the Year

Ross Brawn, Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One

Alastair Lukies, Monitise Group

European Business Leader of the Year (Global/Local)

Ryoichi Bamba, Canon Europe

Larry Hirst, IBM Europe

Dominique Reiniche, Coca-Cola Europe

Philanthropist of the Year

Percy Barnevik, Hand in Hand International

Zarine Kharas & Anne-Marie Huby, JustGiving

Franck Riboud, Danone

European Business Leader of the Future

Angela Ahrendts, Burberry

Luca de Meo, Volkswagen

Jean-Pascal Tricoire, Schneider Electric

Innovator of the Year

David Courtier-Dutton, Slicethepie

Diaa Elyaacoubi, Streamcore

Mario Moretti Polegato, Geox Group

Outstanding Leadership in Sustainable Practices

Peter Bakker, TNT

Gerard Kleisterlee, Philips

Henri Proglio, Veolia Environnement