News

Britain’s most ambitious leader is unveiled

4 Nov 2020

Against the backdrop of a global pandemic and economic uncertainty, this year’s LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders stand out as bastions of hope and provide some much-needed positivity.

The midmarket is the linchpin of the nation’s economy: the firms profiled in this year’s Top 50 employ more than 5,250 people and collectively contribute more than £1bn to the economy.

As the programme draws to a close once again, it is time to reveal the winners for 2020. These individuals wowed the judges across several award categories.

First, for the Most Ambitious Business Leader, the judges felt this individual demonstrated a dogged determination to realise his vision and a proven track record for achieving growth both at home and overseas. The Most Ambitious Business Leader of 2020 is Fokhrul Islam, CEO of Global Procurement Group (GPG), with its UK trading arm Northern Gas and Power (NGP).

He impressed the judges with his energy procurement and management platform, which is generating international traction and helping 20,000 customers of all sizes reduce their energy consumption.

My ambition comes from an innate determination to succeed; to grow my own successful business and make it something special, one which can transform this industry for the better.”
Fokhrul Islam, CEO, Global Procurement Group (GPG) – UK trading arm Northern Gas and Power (NGP)

“We are expanding rapidly in the UK, France and Malta, growing our headcount to 1,000 people. We have many exciting plans to continue our growth and I’m so grateful for this recognition from LDC and The Telegraph,” says Fokhrul.

The remainder of The Top 50 Awards were hotly contested, but each winner has their own story.

Resilience is a required trait in the current climate and Brigitte Read epitomises just that. Her inclusive tights business, Snag, ran into difficulty during the first lockdown. But Brigitte dug in and her loyal customers supported the business, with 2020 set to be its best year yet.

Dr Graeme Malcolm OBE was difficult to beat in our Innovation category. He founded M Squared to create the world’s purest light, which he’s now using to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems, from killing coronavirus to helping track climate change.

The Making a Difference award goes to Nick Hynes of digital transformation specialist Somo. Nick has made it his mission to give back, whether founding a digital board for the NSPCC, or supporting The Prince’s Trust, Nick has consistently made a difference to young people during his career.

With Brexit on the horizon, International Ambition is more complex than ever before, but Marisa Hordern, founder of demi-fine jewellery brand Missoma has a head start. She is already exporting as far afield as China having grown international sales by almost 350% last year.

There were three additional Top 50 business leaders the judges felt deserved a special mention as Rising Stars, each tipped for great things in the future: Maxine Laceby, founder of supplement business Absolute Collagen, Rachel Pendered of creative communications agency Media Zoo and Cassandra Stavrou, founder of healthy snacks brand Proper Snacks.

And finally, in the Ones to Watch cohort, Jennifer Sundberg and Pippa Begg, Co-CEOs of Board Intelligence stood out. They are changing the game on how boards operate, providing products and services to help unlock board potential. They have already quadrupled their client roster in three years.

“Congratulations to all of The Top 50 2020. These impressive business leaders showcase the breadth of entrepreneurial talent across the UK,” says John Garner from leading private equity firm, LDC. “LDC has supported ambitious business leaders for 40 years. We’re here because we like to champion success. And that’s something the Top 50 have in spades! They are all winners, so deciding on the Most Ambitious was a tough task for our judges, but Fokhrul’s determination, attention to detail, and the sacrifices he has made to achieve success really set him apart.”

The LDC Top 50 Award Winners – revealed!

Watch our editor-in-residence Rebecca Burn-Callander as she reveals the individual award winners for this year’s Top 50, including the highly coveted Most Ambitious Business Leader award. These individuals wowed our expert panel of judges across several categories, including resilience, innovation, making a difference and international ambition.

Watch the video