29 December 2023

Aviva and TalkTalk chiefs and TV’s Mary Portas among honoured business leaders

29 December 2023

The bosses of TalkTalk, Aviva and TV business personality Mary Portas topped the listings of business people on the New Year Honours list.

The boss of arms manufacturer BAE Systems Charles Woodburn was also made a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in a year when weapons companies have become increasingly important with the war in Ukraine set to enter its third year in February.

TalkTalk boss Dame Tristia Harrison said that she was “humbled” to have been recognised for her work recruiting and promoting more women in the technology sector.

She was made Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the New Year Honours list.

“I am humbled to have been nominated for this honour,” Dame Tristia said.

“I have spent over 20 years in telecoms and as a team at TalkTalk we have been proud to champion affordable connectivity, invest in Greater Manchester and encourage more women into telecoms and technology.”

Dame Amanda Blanc, the chief executive of insurance giant Aviva was also recognised on the list for services to business, gender equality and net zero.

Dame Amanda was born in Wales and worked most of her career across the insurance industry before becoming one of the most high-profile female chief executives in Britain when she was appointed to lead Aviva in 2020.

They joined Mary Portas, a retail consultant and broadcaster known for her TV programmes as well as leading a 2011 review for the Government into the state of the British high street.

She was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to business, broadcasting and charity.

Sir Stephen Hester, the former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland said that he was “delighted” to be on the list.

Sir Stephen, who was made a knight for services to business and the economy, helped steer the struggling bank back from the brink after it came close to collapse during the 2008 financial crisis.

He now chairs easyJet and Scandinavian banking giant Nordea and has previously led RSA Insurance and British Land.

“I suppose this is very cliched, but I’m absolutely delighted, pleased and delighted,” he told the PA news agency.

Mr Woodburn was made a CBE for services to international trade and skills development.

The international trade he has been involved in has included supporting the Ukrainian armed forces.

Mr Woodburn said: “I am humbled to receive this award – it’s a huge honour that belongs to the entire team at BAE Systems, who work tirelessly day in, day out to provide critical capabilities and services to our armed forces, security services and other customers around the world.”

Other prominent business people on the list include WPP boss Mark Read, Anglo American chief executive Mark Cutifani and AJ Bell founder Andy Bell who were all made CBEs.

Addison Lee founder Sir John Griffin was knighted for services to business and charity.

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