Belfast Telegraph

Moy Park chief Janet lifts lifetime award at Belfast Telegraph Business Awards gala


By Margaret Canning

The chief executive of poultry giant Moy Park - Northern Ireland's biggest home-grown company - has received the Lifetime Achievement Award in the Belfast Telegraph Business Awards in partnership with Ulster Bank.

Janet McCollum was honoured at last night's glittering ceremony at the Crowne Plaza in Belfast for making a hugely positive impact in the business community here as well as playing a major role in representing the agri-food industry nationally and internationally.

The Belfast-born executive, who is married with three children, has overseen a major expansion in the business, including its growth in the convenience food sector, which has helped drive profits.

It is now one of the UK's top 15 food companies, and part of the Brazilian-based JBS Group.

Moy Park, based in Craigavon, employs 6,300 people in Northern Ireland and a total of 12,000, including its operations in Europe. It recorded pre-tax profits of £35.7m in 2015.

She has been head of the company since 2014, but first joined as European accountant back in 1993.

Marine fit-out company MJM Marine in Newry - led by chief executive Gary Annett and chairman Brian McConville - was named Overall Business of the Year, sponsored by Ulster Bank.

MJM Marine also triumphed in the Excellence in Export category, sponsored by the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The company, which recorded more than £60m in turnover in 2016, has increased employment by 25% and has secured substantial contracts all over the world.

MJM Group works for the world's major cruise lines, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Lines, Cunard, P&O and Holland America.

Last night's event - attended by around 350 of the brightest and best from the world of Northern Ireland business - was hosted by BBC journalist Wendy Austin.

It also featured an inspirational speech by record-breaking polar explorer and adventurer Alan Chambers MBE.

It is the first year Ulster Bank has partnered with the Belfast Telegraph for the Business Awards. Richard Donnan, Ulster Bank head of Northern Ireland, said: 

"We are delighted to partner with the Belfast Telegraph for these awards and to help recognise and celebrate the achievements of local businesses.

"I had the privilege of being one of the judges and that was an inspiring experience, underlining the calibre of businesses that we have in Northern Ireland and some of the great things being done in the local business community.

"All the winners embody the spirit of enterprise that is key to the future of our economy, as well as a dedication to excellence." He added: "What was also really encouraging was to see how many had built their success on overcoming adversity. That is a true mark of character and distinction."  

Leslie Buckley, chairman of Independent News and Media PLC, said: "We are thrilled to be honouring such a wide range of companies from start-ups to multimillion pound companies and everything in between.

"Hearing what our finalists have achieved has been nothing short of inspirational and makes for a fantastic feel-good event.

"That, coupled with the support we have received from our partner Ulster Bank, our category sponsors, our esteemed panel of judges and the general business community, means that our business awards continue to go from strength to strength in their 15th year."

There were winners in another 11 categories, including the Excellence in the Development of Management & Leadership, sponsored by B4B Telecoms, which was snapped up by the Progressive Building Society.

And the Young Businessperson of the Year category - sponsored by Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council - went to Jack Hamilton, a director of vegetable processing company Mash Direct.

Economist John Simpson, who was chairman of the judging panel for the awards, said the panel had been impressed by the achievements of MJM Marine.

"All of the winners, in each category, are living examples of what the best of local business can do. Selecting any one as overall winner is a difficult choice.

"They are a diverse group, each representing a set of skills or achievements that are a credit to them. However, after a review of the winners, the judges agreed on a recommendation.

"The theme of the selection of MJM Marine must be the impressive nature of the achievements of the business in a complex and competitive market.

"The success of MJM confirms that a local company can gain contracts in a worldwide contract marketplace."

He added: "The evidence of success builds on the supply of special skills against demanding delivery schedules in different locations. The business combines the requirements of skilled labour, successful design specifications, sourcing and delivery of materials, and work flow management, at contract prices that have proved profitable.

"As an export-related business this success is a demonstrable achievement for a Northern Ireland-based firm which helps to sustain our reputation for success in many diverse sectors."

The full list of category winners

Outstanding Business of the Year sponsored by Ulster Bank: MJM Marine

Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Ulster Bank: Janet McCollum, chief executive of Moy Park

Excellence in Marketing sponsored by Crowne Plaza Belfast: Irish Football Association

Excellence in Exporting sponsored by the NI Chamber of Commerce and Industry: MJM Marine

Excellence in the Development of Management & Leadership sponsored by B4B Telecoms: The Progressive Building Society

Excellence in Innovation sponsored by Almac Diagnostics: Oaktree Children's Nursery Thales UK

Best Use of Digital and/or Social Media sponsored by Mascott Construction: SPAR NI

Young Business Person of the Year sponsored by Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council: Jack Hamilton, Mash Direct

IT Company or Team of the Year sponsored by BT: Novosco

Best Established Small/Medium Business sponsored by Flybe: M&M Contractors

Emerging Business/Start Up of the Year sponsored by Retail NI: EquiNutritive

Excellence in Corporate Social Responsibility sponsored by Asda: Henry Brothers

SME Healthcare Business of the Year sponsored by Henry Brothers: GCRM-Belfast

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