Afzal and Akmal Khushi, directors and co-founders of Jacobs & Turner International – trading as Trespass - take top award
The co-owners of outdoor clothing maker Trespass were jointly named Scottish leader of the year at Scottish Business Insider's Leadership Awards 2012 last night.
Afzal and Akmal Khushi, directors and co-founders of Jacobs & Turner International – trading as Trespass – have prospered in what are difficult conditions for the retail trade, with profits up 27 per cent to £3.05 million and turnover up 16 per cent to £61.8 million.
The Glasgow-based company, which now employs more than 870 people, opened more than 30 new stores across the UK in the past year alone and added 126 new staff.
Accepting the award, the brothers paid tribute to their father, who Akmal said “taught us a work ethic that has stood us in good stead for 30 years now".
His brother Afzal added: “We are humbled and honoured to have won this award.
“My dad should really be the recipient of this award. He came to this country penniless, and made his start in life here selling door-to-door from a suitcase, in all weathers.
“That was the kind of work ethic he passed on to us, and in this environment you need to roll up your sleeves.”
Dr Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, was named public sector leader of the year.
Accepting his award, he said: “It is tough out there, but the Scottish tourism industry is determined to change its fate.”
The young business leader of the year award went to Michael Welch, managing director of online tyre retailer Blackcircles.com.
In the past year, Blackcircles agreed a partnership with retail giant Tesco and also attracted former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy as an investor.
The company now sells around 325 million tyres a year and has an annual turnover of £18 million.
Accepting his award, Welch described the Tesco deal as an “eye opener” which has put Blackcircles in a “very strong position going into 2013”.
The international Scottish business leader of the year award went to David Currie, director of global subsea operations at US-based FMC Technologies.
In the past year, Currie managed to persuade the Houston-based oil services giant to invest in Scotland and create 240 skilled research and development and manufacturing jobs across its bases in Bellshill and Dunfermline, increasing its Scottish employee numbers to 1,000 of its 12,500 global workforce.
Currie said: “We are sometimes slow to congratulate ourselves on the fantastic leadership skills we have in oil and gas in Scotland.”
The lifetime achievement award went to Boyd Tunnock, managing director of the iconic Tunnocks Teacake and Caramel Wafer manufacturer.
Tunnock, approaching his 80th birthday, has overseen a 50 per cent rise in exports for the Uddingston-based business, worth £7 million a year – its largest export market being Saudi Arabia.
The company also secured a new supply contract in the past year with a South African supermarket chain.
On accepting his award, Tunnock joked he was surprised to be named as winner of the lifetime achievement award, saying “I haven't achieved anything yet”.
Scottish Business Insider's 2012 Leadership Awards were sponsored by KPMG and Headley Brothers Digital and hosted by the BBC's Fiona Armstrong.
Journalist and author Sir Max Hastings was the guest speaker, delivering a speech on the importance of leadership covering Sir Winston Churchill's leadership during the Second World War and his own experiences during his 10 years as editor of the Daily Telegraph.