Almost two and a half years after City AM’s last gala dinner, the brightest lights of London’s business community have once again gathered in person to toast the success of the Square Mile during what has been an amazing year.
Held for the first time in the Guildhall, the awards honor those who made the city great in 2021.
In a difficult year, our winners have all outdone themselves.
Some 450 guests joined City AM reporters in the old Guildhall in the heart of the City of London. Guest of honor Sir Martyn Lewis, the former newscaster turned successful businessman, regaled the greats with stories from the frontline of the media while City AM editor Andy Silvester hailed the ‘resilience’ of the city in the face of unprecedented challenges.
“Banks that have become intermediaries for emergency loans to small alcohol producers that have started making hand sanitizer. Entrepreneurs who solved problems they didn’t know existed. The insurers and law firms that have given businesses confidence to invest again. When it mattered – and it did – British businesses and the Square Mile stood up,” he said at the start of the event.
The biggest prize of the evening was won by Anne Boden, founder and chief executive of Starling Bank. As a leader in the fintech scene, City AM’s team of expert judges felt it was fair to acknowledge the growing importance of the sector – and one of its most vocal figures.
Meanwhile, AstraZeneca won the company of the year award – recognition for the decision to sell its life-saving Covid-19 vaccine at cost.
Show business winners and the city continued to shine in a tough year
Amid all the headwinds of 2021, businesses continued to shine – none more so than our winners.
Our Entrepreneur of the Year, Euan Blair, has seen his business “Multiverse” provide thousands of in-company apprentices, disrupting the usual path to professional services and making the city more diverse.
HopIn, our Innovator of the Year, kept the event business going when the pandemic locked us all indoors.
Among professional services firms, Aviva was named iInsurer of the Year, with CEO Amanda Blanc delivering a promised return to shareholders and transforming the household name into a leaner, fitter company despite pressure from activists.
PwC shone as accounting firm of the year, and Pinsent Masons – which still represents more FTSE 100 companies than any other – once again took the crown as accounting firm of the year. city.
Elsewhere, Lazard’s Nicholas Shott won dealmaker of the year for his work on the Daily Mail privatization deal, with much of his team on hand to accept the award.
No nonsense Terry Smith won Investor of the Year, not only for delivering superb returns to investors, but also for his acerbic wit; who can forget his broadside against Hellmann’s mayonnaise?
Analyst of the Year was awarded to Martin Deboo of Jefferies for his work on Unilever, and our ESG Company of the Year was Legal and General Investment Management for putting its money in its mouth when it comes to “green” investments.
And the prestigious Company of the Year award went to life science champion AstraZeneca.
But the big winner of the evening was Starling Bank, which took home the Bank of the Year award and saw its CEO Anne Boden win the coveted Personality of the Year award.
In a shortlist of city legends Sir Nigel Wilson, Sir Nigel Knowles, David Buik and UK hospitality chief Kate Nicholls, the judges felt it was high time to recognize the growing importance of fintech for the city and the country’s economy at large. Congratulations to all of our nominees and winners.