Belfast Telegraph

Aerospace boss lands major business gong

By David Elliot

A stalwart of Northern Ireland's third largest employer picked up one of the most prestigious awards at the 2012 Belfast Telegraph Business Awards last night.

The judges unanimously voted vice president and general manager of Bombardier Aerospace, Dr Michael Ryan, for the award of Businessperson of the Year for a career which spans over 30 years with the company, formerly Shorts.

They said that since 2000, after returning from a post with the company in Montreal, Mr Ryan has steered Bombardier through major changes, meeting demanding targets and enhancing the position of the firm's Northern Ireland arm within the wider future plans of the Canadian company.

"Bombardier in Belfast continues as one of the largest local employers and is also an exemplar of the benefits to be gained by developing competitive high value-added skills in an organisation," Professor John Simpson, who chaired the judging panel, said.

"Assessed only on the basis of what Bombardier Belfast has achieved (and is achieving) this award would be merited."

John Simpson said Michael Ryan had demonstrated effective leadership in several ways: "He has taken Bombardier through major transformations and met challenging targets to enhance the position of the Belfast business in the context of Bombardier's international plans.

"In the wider industrial arena, he has played an important part in working with our local universities to successfully launch the Northern Ireland Advanced Composites and Engineering Centre.

"In support of important community work, Michael has played a key role in Business in the Community and supported the voluntary employers' forum for the West Belfast and Greater Shankill communities, encouraging employment opportunities and appropriate training for people in the area."

Bombardier employs nearly 5,000 people in Northern Ireland and turned over just shy of £500m last year, making pre-tax profits of £57m.