Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Executive of THEYEAR Shortlist Is Announced; AWARDS ROBERT GIBSON Robert.Gibson@ncjmedia.Co.UK

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Executive of THEYEAR Shortlist Is Announced; AWARDS ROBERT GIBSON Robert.Gibson@ncjmedia.Co.UK

Article excerpt

TODAY The Journal can reveal the names of region's top business people who have made it on to the shortlist for the North East Business Executive of the Year Awards.

The ultimate winners of the prestigious event will be named at the awards night on November 14, when motivational guru, Caspar Berry, will be guest speaker.

After starring in Byker Grove as a child and studying Economics and Anthropology at Cambridge, Berry began his adult work life as a screenwriter, before making the decision at the age of 25 to become a professional poker player in Las Vegas. He has long-since retired from that role, but retains many of the lessons he learned and applies them directly to business.

Berry identifies risk as the single most important, though least understood, factor in turning potentially innovative managers into dynamic leaders, an assertion backed up by the fact that Bill Gates claims to have learned everything he knows about business from playing poker at college.

Following the bursting of the financial bubble - caused to a large degree by a failure to manage risk - he argues, the priority now is not to avoid risk altogether but to better understand and calculate it. Whether leading a team, making savings, planning budgets or negotiating with suppliers and customers, risk plays a central role for business people, Berry asserts.

However, when challenged, few can define the different between a calculated risk and a reckless gamble.

This year's shortlist is as follows: TYNESIDE & NORTHUMBERLAND ? Robert Bowles - chairman of spe-cialist coating company Barrier Group, Willington John Dickson - chairman of con-struction experts, Owen Pugh Group, Dudley ? David Harrison - managing part-ner of financial services firm, True Potential LLP, Newcastle DURHAM & WEARSIDE ? Stephen Learney - managing director of Haskel Europe, a specialist in high pressure technology, based in Sunderland Helen Smith - chief executive of specialist recruitment firm, Oil Consultants, Washington Peter Walls - chief executive of social housing expert, Gentoo Group, Sunderland TEESSIDE ? …

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