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 in the London Hilton on Park Lane’s spectacular Grand Ballroomgathering 900 leaders and stakeholders for the world’s largest ever celebration of military veterans in business. Host of the awards, BBC news anchor and former RAF officer Susannah Streeter, welcomed keynote addresses from Sir Charlie Mayfield, Chairman of John Lewis Partnership and a former army officer, and Lieutenant General Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO of SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity, as well as entertainment that included a special performance from the The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra. Nineteen award winners were crowned from an outstanding group of finalists and nearly £50,000 was raised and donated to military charities.


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.


Chief Executive, SSAFA – the Armed Forces charity
Lt. Gen. Sir Andrew Gregory joined the Royal Artillery in 1981 and served 35 years in the British Army. He deployed on operations to Northern Ireland, the Balkans and as Deputy Commander of 1st (United Kingdom) Armoured Division during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and the months immediately following it. Between 2013 and April 2016 Andrew was a Lieutenant General and Chief of Defence People. In September 2016, having left the Army, he became Chief Executive of SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, an organisation that relieves need, suffering and distress amongst serving military personnel, veterans and their families. Andrew become the 31st Master Gunner St James’s Park on the 1 May 2017.


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.
Her Majesty The Queen graciously approved the title of ‘The Countess of Wessex’s String Orchestra’ for the new Army String Orchestra on 3 March 2014 in recognition of the Corps of Army Music’s Colonel in Chief. There have been string players in the Army for over 250 years and The Royal Artillery Regiment could boast of having the first professional orchestra in Britain. However this is the first time the Army has a dedicated ensemble where its members can concentrate solely on playing stringed instruments without the need to learn a marching band instrument. Based at the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich.


“We are proud to be the official charity partner of The British 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 £39,000 was raised 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 Awards party

01.00 Carriages

Programme is subject to change



Ben Farrell MBE

Head of Central Operations and Transport, John Lewis

Chris Pullen

Chief Executive, Staffline Group

David Wilkins

Head of Global eFX Sales, Goldman Sachs

Dougie Dryburgh

Chief Executive, Viapath

Sir George Zambellas

Former First Sea Lord

Haig Tyler

Chief Information Officer, Herbert Smith Freehills

Hugh Eaton

Head of Public Sector, EMEAR, Cisco

Jane Wainwright

Director, Security & Data Protection, PwC

Linsey Vance

Director of Service Delivery, Rackspace

Lyanne Maclean

Head of Fleet Services, Royal Mail

Mike Jones

Vice President, NTT Data UK

Peter Ruddock

Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin 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