Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage Chief Scoops Top Award to Cap Great Year

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Sage Chief Scoops Top Award to Cap Great Year

Article excerpt

Byline: By Iain Laing

The North-East's most coveted and exciting individual business awards have reached their climax. Iain Laing reports on the North East Business Executive of the Year.

Paul Walker has capped a great year of success for software giant Sage by winning the title North East Business Executive of the Year. Judges picked the chief executive of the Newcastle-based group from more than 50 of the region's most successful businesses entered in the hugely prestigious awards organised by The Journal and Evening Gazette.

The modest 46-year-old, who has guided the FTSE 100's only hi-tech business through massive worldwide growth in recent years, was presented with his trophy at a celebratory dinner last month at the Newcastle Marriott Hotel.

He told guests: "One of our core values at Sage is to give staff the freedom to go out and succeed and we want them to go out and do just that."

His latest triumph came just two weeks after the company reported a 20pc rise in annual profits to pounds 181m and a 29pc hike in group revenues to pounds 688m.

Paul's success means that for the first time in the awards' 21 year history, two individuals from the same company have won the regional title. The late David Goldman ( chairman of Sage, co-founder and initial architect of its commercial dominance ( won in 1992.

The win also coincides with Sage's arrival in a new purpose-built headquarters that will commercially anchor with other hi-tech businesses in Newcastle Great Park. And it comes as the region's prestigious new centre of music at Gateshead is given the name Sage in recognition of its support.

Runners-up in the awards were Brian Manning, managing director of construction group Esh of Bowburn, and Donald Fothergill, chief executive of Pickerings Lifts of Stockton. They too won titles. Brian is now Durham and Wearside Business Executive of the Year, and Donald is Tees Valley Business Executive of the Year.

The judges, chaired by Sir Ian Wrigglesworth, said: "Paul has spoken many times of a debt to David, and how much he learned from him. But Paul clearly has since made a tremendous input of his own into Sage. …

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