For a person who has made an outstanding contribution to leadership or management in the professions.

2022 winner

Nick Owen CBE

Nick Owen’s acceptance speech

“Setting the energy and building consensus is critical to success. The only way to do this is to be very clear about what you are trying to do – a strong vision – but also to bring people on board in a way that makes it their vision and journey as well.”

Tributes to Nick Owen

Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions, BP

“The relationship has been one where he provided professional services to us as a company, into my team in particular, and built his own team to provide that service, and essentially leapfrogged their competition to become our preferred supplier. He’s definitely calm, definitely insightful, definitely authentic. I suspect my wife, who does know him very well, would call him charming.”

Partner and UK Human Capital Consulting Leader, Deloitte

“He is energetic, very values focused, values driven, is empathetic, is challenging and, but most of all is human. He always brings a human touch to a situation and is very interested in what makes people tick and their motivations and wanting to help them. He’s just somebody I really like spending time with. I noticed that from others when the opportunity arises to spend time with him, to have a meeting with him, they jump at the chance.”

Partner and UK Trade Strategy and Brexit Leader, EY

“I’ve never met anyone who is able to build consensus and move mountains in the way that he is – Things that seemed impossible. Because of his formidable will coupled with absolute vision, clarity, efficient, which means that it may not happen immediately, but over time, we will get to the right place every single time because of his will and his vision.”

Chairman, Arup Group + Co-Chair, Professional & Business Services Council

“The engagement and the friendliness and yet the ability to keep the focus and the drive is amazing. Hugely articulate, hugely thoughtful and very strategic. We brought government and business together in a really focused way, and this person made that happen in a really very articulate and diplomatic way that was seamless. People didn’t realize they were being steered in that direction, but we were, and it was brilliantly done.”

Director, Services Directorate, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

“Ministers want to hear from people who challenge them and who have differences of view, That is something that this individual would do politely very well if there was something that people needed to hear that they weren’t hearing, then he would ensure that happened. He was very well networked, has a great sense of humour and is very passionate about working with colleagues across the services sectors, and helping people on a personal level.”

Chair, M&G plc; Former Senior Partner, Freshfields

“A very good client partner; he knew our people; he understood the business; and he was always good at being helpful in identifying things which he picked up elsewhere and which wasn’t sure that you knew, but he thought you ought to know. It was always a call you want to take, because it was always worthwhile. He likes people, he’s very high energy and he transmits enthusiasm.”

Deputy Director, Professional & Business Services, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy

“I definitely felt nervous, the first time I met him because of his gravitas and standing, but he certainly put my nerves to one side. He is a very good leader and very approachable, and I really enjoyed working with him over the time he was working on the Council.”

Executive Director of Engagement, Teach First

“I would describe him as someone who has demonstrated his commitment to social mobility; using his networks in his influence in his agency as a senior person in the professional services industry for good, not just for our charity, but for wider society.”