The Ex-Forces in Business Awards is the world’s largest celebration of ex-military in second careers. It recognises the value veterans add to businesses as well as the employers that support the transition of servicemen and women.

Servicemen and women spend years adapting to roles and gaining valuable skills. They develop qualities that are hugely adaptable to commercial environments and in demand in the business world, but communicating the transferability of those skills to employers can be challenging. Increasing visibility of role models – military veterans who have carved out successful second careers – is crucial to not only empowering and inspiring current and future service leavers, but to educating employers on the value of supporting the transition of servicemen and women.

Taking place in both London and Glasgow, the Ex-Forces in Business Awards is the world’s flagship platform for providing that visibility by celebrating the achievements of veterans in the wider workforce and promoting the strong synergies between military values and business excellence. The awards highlight the military-gained skills and qualities that have helped enable their business achievements and recognises the organisations that have supported them.

These exciting, high-profile awards ceremonies not only gather business leaders and veterans to honour the winners, but also bring together top companies, key military personnel, politicians, journalists and other stakeholders to advance dialogue and share best practice around the benefits of ex-forces employment initiatives, and ultimately promote the significant value that military-gained skills can provide to the UK economy if better utilised across the workforce.


On 8 May 2019, the second annual British Ex-Forces in Business Awards took place at the London Hilton on Park Lanebringing together 900 business and military leaders. Host of the awards, BBC news anchor and former RAF officer Susannah Streeter, welcomed a keynote address from Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership and a former army officer. On 3 December 2019, the inaugural Scottish Ex-Forces in Business Awards took place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Glasgowgathering 500 leaders and stakeholders across government, defence and enterprise. The Scottish awards were hosted by BBC presenter and Invictus Games gold medallist JJ Chalmers, who introduced keynote speaker Graeme Dey, Veterans Minister. Guests at the events enjoyed special entertainment that included a showcase from the Team BRIT racing team and performances from the likes of the Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra, the Royal Scots Association Pipe Band and the Military Wives ChoirWe are delighted to reveal that £60,000 was raised and donated to military charities through the awards initiative in 2019.


Chairman, John Lewis Partnership

Former army officer Sir Charlie Mayfield became John Lewis Partnership’s fifth Chairman in March 2007. He joined the Partnership in 2000 as Head of Business Development and joined the Board as Development Director in 2001. He became Managing Director of John Lewis in January 2005 prior to taking up his appointment as Chairman of the Partnership. Charlie is Chair of the Productivity Leadership Group and is the President of the Employee Ownership Association. He is also a Trustee of Place2Be, Non-Executive Chairman of QA and a Trustee of the British Museum. He received a knighthood in June 2013 for services to business.



Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans

Graeme Dey attended Harlaw Academy in Aberdeen before embarking on a career in journalism, living in Dundee and Angus. He was elected to the Scottish Parliament for Angus South in 2011 and has been Convener of the Parliament’s Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, and Depute Convenor of the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee. Born and raised in Aberdeen, Graeme is married with two grown up children. In 2018, Graeme was appointed as the Minister for Parliamentary Business and Veterans in the Scottish Government.


First Sea Lord 2013-2016

Admiral Sir George Zambellas completed three years as First Sea Lord in 2016. During his tenure, his focus was on people, to ensure that the quantity and quality of emergent technical expertise would be ready for the new carriers, nuclear submarines and ships being delivered. George began his career as a helicopter pilot, before a series of sea commands, including the UK Amphibious Force, the UK Maritime Force, NATO 4* Maritime Command and the Fleet. An engineer by training, George now has successfully transitioned into numerous business interests in the new technology sectors. He is a Governor of Harrow School, a Director of the White Ensign Association, President of the Shipwrecked Mariners’ Society, an Elder Brother of Trinity House, a trustee of the VC and GC Association, and a Deputy Lieutenant of Dorset.


BBC news anchor

Susannah Streeter is the anchor for World Business Report on BBC World Service and BBC World TV, delivering breaking stories and gaining insight into unfolding economic events from entrepreneurs, economists and analysts. Prior to covering an international news agenda, Susannah was a regular face on BBC One Breakfast, reporting live from across the UK. She also reported for the consumer affairs programme Working Lunch and the BBC Budget programme. Between 1997 and 2007 Susannah served in the Royal Auxiliary Air Force, joining 7644 Squadron, a media operations unit, where she rose to the rank of Squadron Leader.



BBC presenter and Invictus Games gold medallist

JJ Chalmers is a former Royal Marine Commando who served on the frontline in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. His team were in close liaison with the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police Force as well as re-building relationships with civilian communities. He was wounded by an Improvised Explosive Device whilst on foot patrol in a blast that claimed the lives of two of his friends, and has since been through hundreds of hours of surgery and endured months of specialist rehabilitation. In the 2014 Invictus Games, JJ captained Team UK’s Trike Cycling team, which brought home eight medals, and he personally won a Gold and Bronze for Recumbent Cycling and a Bronze in the 4x100m track. He is now a firm fixture in BBC Sport’s live presenting team and part of the BBC ceremonial coverage team covering events such as Trooping The Colour and The Lord Mayor’s Show.


“We are proud to be the official charity partner of The Ex-Forces in Business Awards. I congratulate all those nominated in the various categories, and especially those who collected an award; you should all be proud of what you have achieved or the support you are providing to veterans. The Awards are an excellent way to celebrate the linkages between the Armed Forces and businesses, large and small, and those who organised the process, culminating in a superb evening, have done a wonderful job. We are delighted that an amazing £49,527 was raised in 2019 to help SSAFA continue its support to the Armed Forces community; on behalf of our clients, thank you all for your generosity.”

Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity


Forces TV was among numerous national media brands that attended the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2018, interviewing General Sir Mike Jackson and Andy McNab about the importance of the event.




Dress code: black tie & military dress

19.00 Drinks reception

20.00 Welcome and guest speakers

20.25 Dinner

22.00 Presentation of the awards

22.45 Entertainment

23.00 Drinks and networking

01.00 Carriages

Programme is subject to change


Alistair Fenemore

CISO, University of Edinburgh

Andrew Carnwath

Director, Private Equity, BMO Global Asset Management

Andrew Hewison

Head of Group Project Management Office, DCC

Archie Gibson

Executive Director, Agrico UK

Ben Farrell MBE

Head of Central Operations and Transport, John Lewis

Charlie Wallace

Scottish Veterans Commissioner

Chris Pullen

Chief Executive, Staffline Group

Craig Jamieson

Regional Director, Scotland & Northern Ireland, Barclays Wealth Management

David Watt

Executive Director, IoD Scotland

Dougie Dryburgh

Chief Executive, Viapath

Dicky Donovan

Group People Director, William Jackson Food Group

Fiona Forrest-Anderson

Head of Employer Engagement, Edinburgh Napier University

Gavin Wilson

Head of Customer Insight, Royal Bank of Scotland

Sir George Zambellas

Former First Sea Lord

Haig Tyler

Chief Information Officer, Herbert Smith Freehills

Hugh Eaton

Head of Public Sector, EMEAR, Cisco

James Woodward

Legal Director, Addleshaw Goddard

Jane Wainwright

Director, Security & Data Protection, PwC

John Sheehy

Head of Change Delivery, Police Scotland

Lee Madigan

Head of Communications, Offshore Renewable Energy Catapult

Linsey Vance

Director of Service Delivery, Rackspace

Lyanne Maclean

Head of Fleet Services, Royal Mail

Mike Jones

Vice President, NTT Data UK

Philip Harris

Managing Director, Credit Suisse

Rowena Fell

Global Technology Risk Operations Leader, EY

Sam Smith

VP Global Solutions & Global Vertical Group Leader for Life Sciences, KellyOCG

Stewart Sharman

Deputy Managing Director and Head of the Ex-Forces Programme, FDM Group

Tim Allan

President, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Vern Davis

Managing Director, Aerospace, Defence and National Security, Sopra Steria

Victoria Gosling OBE

CEO, GB Snowsport