Scottish business leaders Lord Willie Haughey OBE and Charles Hammond win at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 UK final

Lord William Haughey OBE at the EY Scottish finals in June, when he took home the Sustained Excellence Award in recognition of his more than three decades as an ‘inspirational entrepreneur’, and the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 Scotland overall title

Lord Willie Haughey OBE, co-founder and chairman of City Holdings Group and Charles Hammond, CEO of Forth Ports have been named EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 UK winners in two separate categories at an awards ceremony held in London last night.

In recognition of more than three decades as an “inspirational entrepreneur” Lord Willie Haughey OBE took the honours in the Sustained Excellence category.

The title and trophy is in addition to the two he won at the Scotland final in June; Sustained Excellence and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2018 Scotland overall winner.

His City Holdings Group is an international group providing facilities management services in several countries, using leading technology, combined with a multi-skilled workforce. Lord Haughey OBE, started the business (then, City Refrigeration Holdings Ltd) with his wife Lady Susan Haughey in 1985.

Lord Haughey began his career as an air-conditioning engineer before taking on the role of general manager at a facility in the Middle East. Using their life savings Lord and Lady Haughey set up their own company, employing four people in Glasgow. 33 years later they now employ 12,000 people around the world in America, Australia, the Far East and Europe and generate an annual turnover in excess of £800 million.

Mike Timmins, partner and EY Entrepreneur Of The Year leader in Scotland, said: “With a relentless focus on improvement, Lord Willie Haughey has created an incredible business of international renown. His unfaltering commitment to others is making a positive impact to the lives of many people. This includes those in his workforce who he invests in through training and development opportunities, the support he gives to fledgling entrepreneurs and the extensive philanthropic work he and his wife Lady Haughey deliver to countless people in the UK and internationally. Lord Haughey is an inspiration for all aspiring entrepreneurs.”

Also representing Scotland’s entrepreneurial contingent, Charles Hammond, CEO of Forth Ports was joint-winner of the Transformational Leader category. Forth Ports, based in Edinburgh, owns and operates eight commercial ports on the Firth of Forth, Firth of Tay and the Thames.

The judges were impressed by Mr Hammond’s ability to gradually and sustainably transform the company during the 17 years he has been at the helm.

Mr Timmins of EY said: “Charles is an impressive entrepreneur whose dynamic and approachable leadership style has resulted in remarkable business growth that subsequently makes a significant contribution to the economy. He has built a positive culture of professionalism and ingenuity, demonstrated through low staff turnover and successfully embracing innovative technology and ideas. Charles is a man also dedicated to charity; he set up Tilbury & The Thames Trust, designed to provide opportunities for ex-servicemen and women to get back into the jobs market through logistics training. He also supports the Community Development Trust in Leith.”

Brothers Mohsin and Zuber Issa, co-CEOs of independent forecourt operator, EG Group, were crowned ‘EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2018 UK overall winner’ in addition to winning the ‘Building a Better Working World’ category award at the ceremony, and will represent the UK at EY World Entrepreneur of the Year in Monaco next year.

Founded in 2001, Mohsin and Zuber started their business with a single petrol forecourt in Bury, Greater Manchester that they ran themselves. Today, they operate around 4,500 sites across eight different markets - UK, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany and USA – and employ over 20,000 people. EG Group is one of the European leaders in forecourt convenience retailing and has recently entered the US market.

Other winners:

In total nine entrepreneurs from seven companies were selected by an independent judging panel - chaired by Penny Hughes CBE, Chairman of Aston Martin Lagonda PLC - each winning an EY Entrepreneur of the Year UK award in the following categories:

Building a Better Working World – Mohsin and Zuber Issa, EG Group, based in Blackburn – the leading independent fuel station and convenience retailer, operating across eight countries.

Disruptor – Bernhard Niesner, busuu, based in London – a social learning app that helps enable users to learn a language anytime and in anyplace.

Rising Star – Jesse Lozano, pi-top, based in London – education technology, blending physical computing and project-based learning with computer science and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) education.

Scale Up – Clint Wilson, ParentPay, based in Coventry - the UK’s leading provider of online payment services for schools.

Sustained Excellence - Lord Willie Haughey OBE, City Holdings Group, based in Glasgow - an international group providing facilities management services in several countries, using leading technology combined with a multi-skilled workforce.

Transformational Leader – (Joint winners)

Charles Hammond, Forth Ports, based in Edinburgh - owns and operates eight commercial ports on the Firth of Forth, the Firth of Tay, and the Thames.


Kim and Simon Morrish, Ground Control, based in Billericay – offer landscaping and external facilities management across a wide range of divisions and sectors.

EY Family Business Award of Excellence and Judges’ Special Award - John Timpson CBE, Chairman of family-owned and run Timpson – a retailer in shoe repairs, key cutting and engraving, as well as dry cleaning and photo processing - was presented with the EY Family Business Award of Excellence during the ceremony.

The judges also gave a special award to David Bellis MBE, of Oldham-based Innovative Technology, for being a role model to UK entrepreneurs. The judges described David as ‘demonstrating a lifetime of unseen invention’ and in his 80s, ‘David is just getting started’.

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