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Maxine Smith (left), of sponsor Nyumbani Estate, with Michelle Hatfield, of George Best Belfast City Airport, and host Michael Portillo

Maxine Smith (left), of sponsor Nyumbani Estate, with Michelle Hatfield, of George Best Belfast City Airport, and host Michael Portillo

Maxine Smith (left), of sponsor Nyumbani Estate, with Michelle Hatfield, of George Best Belfast City Airport, and host Michael Portillo

Two Northern Ireland directors have been recognised for their achievements in leadership by the Institute of Directors.

Michelle Hatfield of George Best Belfast City Airport was named UK director of the year for leadership in corporate responsibility at the IoD UK Director of the Year Awards hosted by former Cabinet minister Michael Portillo.

Jim Dobson, managing director of Dungannon firm Dunbia Meats, won UK large company director of the year. Dunbia supplies beef, lamb and pork products in Northern Ireland, Britain and around the world.

It employs around 3,500 people and has turnover of around £722m in the year to the end of December 2013.

A special recognition award was also given to Brendan Mullan, a non-executive director of Bryson Charitable Group.

Simon Campbell of Portview Fit-Out received a highly commended mention in the new chartered director category.

Ms Hatfield, who is a previous winner of the Northern Ireland young director of the year title, said: "We have worked really hard on our community engagement programme over the last number of years to promote a variety of issues.

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"Our community fund, which was established in 2009 as a means of supporting a variety of local causes which focus on the promotion of education, sport and environmental welfare, has now invested more than £170,000 into neighbouring groups and projects."

The lifetime achievement award went to Virgin founder and entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.

Accepting the award by video message, he said: "I have always tried to surround myself with great people who have helped me direct the companies we created."


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