Former CBI president National Business Awards chair

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DAME Helen Alexander, the former president of the CBI trade body, was yesterday named as the chair of judges for the National Business Awards.

Alexander, who is chairman of London-listed events and marketing firm UBM and a former chief executive at the Economist Group, takes over from Scots-born former Conservative cabinet minister Baroness Virginia Bottomley.

Members being appointed to the advisory board for the award scheme this year include Martha Lane Fox, one of the founders of, as well as former “leader of the year” award winners outsourcing specialist Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith and Martin McCourt, director of Montagu Private Equity and former chief executive at vaccuum cleaner and hand dryer designer Dyson.

Alexander said: “The quality and diversity of the businesses taking part, the robustness of its judging process, and the engagement from all sectors of the economy have established the National Business Awards as Britain’s most-prestigious, relevant and credible accolade.

“It guarantees feedback to all who enter, so it is an invaluable benchmark for organisations from the private, public and third sectors demonstrating excellence.”

News of the appointments comes ahead of the competition being launched on 6 March, with two prizes being added to the contest for the “social enterprise of the year” and “corporate citizenship”.

For more information about the awards scheme and to find out how to enter, visit