Technology Industry and Business Awards

Australia's Top CEOs and Executives Revealed in First Ever Executive of the Year Awards

29 November - Winners announced tonight at Gala event hosted by Eddie McGuire

This evening The CEO Magazine has revealed the winners in the first ever Executive of the Year Awards at a Gala Awards evening hosted by Eddie McGuire at Sydney’s Doltone House.

 With over 500 entries, the Awards identify the achievements of aspiring and established leaders in fourteen categories with key categories including CEO of the Year, Executive of the Year and Young Executive of the Year.  An expert panel of highly regarded business professionals including Gerry Harvey judged all nominations.

 Gerry Harvey said the calibre of the applications made him very proud to be an Australian.

 “The superb business acumen displayed by applicants across all categories is truly inspiring and makes me very confident that Australian businesses will continue to thrive across the nation and the globe.  Employees are also in very safe hands with leaders putting them front and centre, as well as investing their own time and energy into charities and the non profit sector,” Mr Harvey said.

 Taking out the CEO of the Year category was Gilman Wong from Sirtex Medical Ltd.  As CEO of Sirtex Medical Limited (Sirtex), Mr Wong leads a diverse global workforce with the primary aim of providing hope and enhancing livesworldwide for people suffering from liver cancer. Under the leadership of Gilman Wong, Sirtex can now see the opportunity to become a billion dollar company and believe they could be the next big Australian medical technology breakthrough in the same fashion of CSL, Cochlear and ResMed.

 Runner Up for CEO of the Year went to Radek Sali, CEO of Swisse Vitamins.  At 36 years old Radek is one of Australia’s youngest CEOs and holds this position of responsibility in a company that can justifiably claim to be one of Australia’s business success stories.  During Radek’s tenure as CEO, he has implemented a dynamic marketing strategy that has helped deliver unparalleled growth in Australia. Since becoming CEO of Swisse in 2009, thecompany’s annual sales have grown from $15 million to $182.6 million this financial year.  Given his outstanding performance Radek also took out the award for Health and Pharmaceutical Executive of the Year.

Highly Commended in the CEO of the Year category went to John DeLano CEO and Managing Director of FlexiGroup.  Since joining the company in 2003 customers have increased from 120,000 to 1.2 million due to a number of factors including more sources of business.  Coming from outside the top 1,000 Australian companies Flexigroup is in the top 200 ASX listed companies with a Net Promoter (customer service) score that places them in to the Top 3 Australian companies.

 Executive of the Yearwas awarded to Stephen Ellich from Service Stream Fixed Communications also winner of the Telecommunications Executive of the Year category.  Stephen's application demonstrated excellent financial results; significant and vitalcontract wins with NBN Co, a commitment to clear communication channels withstaff, and dedication outside of the role in the not for profit sector.

Michelle Sherwood from Sensis was Runner Up for Executive of the Year.  Over the past twelve months, Michelle has created an environment that engages staff people, advocates for customers and develops understanding and support with the shareholders and the Board.  In a company that is undergoing significant transformational change, Michelle’s role has been an integral part of helping shape the future vision, direction and purpose of Sensis, delivering data-based insights and leading the strategic planning to drive performanceimprovement.

Highly commended went to Jim Minto from TAL.  Jim’s strong desire to make life insurance more accessible to all has been a driving force behind TAL’s evolution to become the leading specialist life insurer in Australia. Less than 10 years ago, life insurance was only available to the privileged few with access to a financial adviser. Now, TAL has forged the way in opening up access to the financial and emotional security that life insurance provides to more Australians.

Jim’s dedication to life insurance has also propelled him to serve the industry as a whole throughout his career. His vision in 2003 that Australians were underinsured and that this placed their families at risk became a rallying cry for the industry that is still heard today.

The much-anticipated categoryYoung Executive of the Year was awarded to John Winning from the Winning Group.  The judges said John is not afraid to take calculated risks and continues to innovate in the online retail space.

Gerry Harvey said John is a great example of a successful Australian entrepreneur.

John’s story begins when in 2005, against the wishes of his peers, including his father, he took out a loan for $50,000 and started an online business at the age of 21.  His father and the management at Winning Appliances were very clear his online business could have no association with Winning Appliances – they didn’t believe the business would take off, and didn’t want Winning Appliances to be part of a business failure!  Yet within three months, Appliances Online was profitable and he was able to repay the loan, hire a person to work with him and pay himself a wage.  Seven years on, the business he founded turns over tens of millions of dollars each year, employs more than 150 people and distributes nationally via its own networks.

Runner Up was Matthew Lucas from, noted for his passion and forward-thinking qualities.  Tasked with both international and domestic expansion, Matthew’s role involves regular travel to Europe, Asia, South America and the US.

Internationally, Matthew has led major projects in 10 very different economies, namely the USA, Brazil, South Korea, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, the Philippines and the UK, including ongoing plans for startup businesses with key partners in numerous South East Asian countries and potential major acquisitions.

Highly Commended went to Ben Kinnaird from Reebok Australia, who had developed some very innovative sporting retail strategies over the past year.  Over the past 12 months, Ben has achieved a number of significant milestones including organising sponsorship of The Biggest Loser television show, with Reebok being the exclusive footwear and apparel supplier for all contestants.  The national prime-time coverage they received in exchange was invaluable, reaching a total audience of over 10 million people in Australia.  Reebok also received huge brand exposure through The Biggest Loser website and social media channels with over 18 million page views.

Ian Audsley, CEO of Prime Media Group was awarded Media Executive of the Year.  Ian was appointed at Prime Media Group when the company was experiencing some financial difficulty and the media industry was being drawn into a period of significant structural and technological change. The company is now one of the best performing companies in the industry.  In addition in March this year, Mr Audsley was instrumental in corralling local media support for the David Rixon Memorial Fund, which was set up in concert with the Police Association of NSW to support the widow and six children of a young countrypolice officer. Senior Constable David Rixon was tragically gunned down while on duty in Tamworth.

Transport & Logistics Executive of the Year went to Ian Lynass of Bis Industries.  Ian articulates a clear strategy and vision for the company, which is on display whenever Ian is in one of the 75 work sites around the country. He has the ability to sit with blue collar workers in remote mine sites, hear their issues and importantly act on those issues. He speaks passionately of Zero Harm and listens to site based employees. It is widely acknowledged throughout the business, that Zero Harm to people, equipment and the environment is an absolute passion of Ian’s. This passion has resulted in Bis Industries having one of the lowest rates of Zero Harm incidents in the resources industry.

Mark Brayan from Integrated Research was named IT Executive of the Year.  The judges noted Mark demonstrated he clearly understands what is required to run a successful global business from Australian shores, and his unwavering commitment resulted in exceptional business outcomes over the past 12 months.

Nigel Clark from Momentum Energy was awarded Energy & Resources Executive of the Year.  An exciting new chapter for Momentum Energy began in 2012 with their entry into the South Australian and New South Wales markets, targeting mass-market customers. Nigel’s strategy to build the Momentum brand and leverage capabilities in retail campaigns and customer service delivered record profits and increased growth through access to larger markets.

As part of this expansion, Nigel selected new sponsorship properties to quickly establish brand awareness and trust in the new markets. The portfolio selected for their database and brand strengths by Nigel includes the Adelaide Crows coaches and head Coach Brenton Sanderson; the Geelong Cats coaches and head coach Chris Scott; back of jersey sponsorship or the St George Illawarra Dragons; Olympic cyclist Matt Goss; and the prestigious GreenFields partnership with the Victorian Racing Club (VRC).

Construction Executive of the Year was awarded to Tim Tape from Watpac Construction SA.  The judges said Tim’s application was moving, written from the heart, and his dedication was easy to see.  Tim started out as a carpenter and is now managing multi-million dollar infrastructure projects.  In his own words, “this chippy has just built a company that has delivered a $75M carpark for Adelaide Airport, and a secure future for the people he employs and ultimately their families. That is very satisfying.”

Tony Karadaglis, General Manager Perth Operations from Webforge took out the Manufacturing Executive of the Year category.  Due to Tony’s leadership over the past 12 months Webforge WA emerged from the constraints of 2011 in good shape achieving the strongest growth performance of the company in recent history.  Aligning internal operations to meet the market demands through reliable production and engendering a customer focusinto the way they worked has transformed the business and returned Webforge WA to market leadership position.

Tony’s approach has been to meet the changing business environment head-on and align the manufacturing operations to the market whilst future-proofing by building agility into operations.  The company has profited from this early and effective response by the delivery of a strong balance sheet and business model. 

Retail Executive of the Year was awarded to Scott Meneilly from Boost Juice Bars.  Over the last year, Scott has led a successful drive for Boost international expansion and secured Master Franchises in Russia, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia collectively worth over $3 million over the next three years in development and revenue.

Scott also participated in the Oz Harvest CEO Cook off in February where they fed nearly 1,000 homeless people and raised over $900,000 for Oz Harvest and Mission Australia.

Theresa Mason,Head of Sales and Marketing at Teachers Mutual Bank was named Financial Services Executive of the Year.  During the last 12 months Theresa led a successful marketing campaign to transform from Teachers Credit Union to Teachers Mutual Bank, and introduce the ‘new face of banking’ in Australia.  The then Teachers Credit Union was Australia’s third largest credit union with over 155,000 members and assets of more than $3.5 billion.

As a key influencer of change, Theresa relished the task of spearheading the transformation of the then 45 year-old financial institution, and persuading members, some 400 staff and many public service, union and commercial stakeholders of the benefits of becoming a mutual bank.  In a highly pressured eight-month campaign, the team carried out an integrated member communications campaign leading up to the re-brand on 1 April 2012.

The 2012 Community Achievement Award was given to Steve Bevington from Community Housing Ltd Group of Companies.  As Managing Director perhaps nothing gives Steve greater satisfaction than to see individuals who, when finally given security of tenure for the long term at a rental rate they can afford, are able to turn their attention beyond that confines of survival and through proper support begin to rebuild careers, pursue skill building, and perhaps most importantly are able to provide their children with the stability they need to receive an education.  In Steve’s words “quality-built housing, at an affordable rent or the opportunity of affordable home ownership, offering security of tenure is transformative in people’s lives.

Managing Director of The CEO Magazine Chris Dutton said that he was overwhelmed and inspired by how successful the Executive of the Year Awards program has been in its first year.

 “I think we have identified a valuable program to shine a light on the leaders in Australian business across all sectors.  These people are helping to build the economy, strengthen the brand and reputation of our great country and are also putting back into the community.  They deserve much praise and I’m glad the Executive of the Year Awards can play a part in that.

 “Many thanks to our sponsorsand to Eddie McGuire for helping us make the program reality.”



For further information, please contact:

Marlene Richardson, GasbagPR, 0409 888 218 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kate Pembroke, Pembroke Projects, 0488 222 916 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




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