The British 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.

The British 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.

This exciting, high-profile ceremony not only gathers business leaders and veterans to honour the winners, but also brings 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 British economy if better utilised across the workforce.

Nominations for the British Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2020 will open on 1 October 2019. If you have any questions until then or you are interested in partnering with us, please do get in touch.


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.





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



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




1 October 2019: Nominations open for the 2019 awards

12 December 2019: Nominations close

1 February 2020: Nominees notified before this date whether they have been shortlisted

1 April 2020: Shortlist publicly announced

2 April 2020: Judging Day, The Savoy

May 2020: British Ex-Forces in Business Awards 2020


The winners are decided by the judges based on the information provided in the written submissions. The submissions that explain why the nominee should win in the most detail, within the word limit of 1,000 words, will stand the best chance. They should detail individual achievements and contributions to success, and where possible include quantitative information, such as revenues, profits, margins, cost savings, efficiency gains, productivity gains, returns on investment, customer wins or anything else that demonstrates that individual’s contributions to a business. Testimonials from colleagues, partners or customers can also enhance a nomination. Please note, any information marked as confidential will remain as such. The judges will refer to the criteria of each award (listed below) when judging it, so nominations should adhere to this closely. Submissions that are less than 550 words in length will not be considered. There is no cost to nominate. The editorial and judging teams reserve the right to move submissions to different categories should they be better suited. Good luck!


Advocate of the Year
An organisation or individual that has demonstrated a great desire to support service leavers through their resettlement and into a new career in the last 18 months, or acted as a strong advocate for what ex-forces personnel or reservists can bring to business. The judges will examine specific efforts in this area, as well as ex-forces initiatives and the overall impact of these efforts. 
Business Leader of the Year
A leader of an organisation, or a leader of a department or division within a large organisation, who has demonstrated outstanding business leadership in the last 18 months. To assess this category, the judges will look at the progress and growth of the organisation, or the relevant department within it, and how the candidate has contributed to that success, both through their leadership and through their own individual achievements.
Champion of Women Award
With women often less recognised and represented than their male counterparts both in business and the armed forces, this important category recognises former servicewomen who have committed themselves to being a role model or mentor to other female service leavers and/or women in business, or who have demonstrated strong commitment to advocating, promoting and supporting gender diversity in the military and/or business. It could also be former servicewomen who have inspired others because of gender biases or discrimination they have had to overcome in either their military or business career. The judges will assess the overall impact of their efforts in advancing gender diversity and/or empowering other women to succeed and overcome barriers.
Employer of the Year
An organisation that has demonstrated a great desire to attract, retain and support ex-forces personnel. Judges will look at the employer’s overall commitment to the ex-forces community in the last 18 months, including its efforts to recruit them, support them in their resettlement and help them grow through the organisation, as well as examples of recognising and promoting the skills of military service leavers and supporting reservists.
Entrepreneur of the Year
This category is for service leavers who have taken the bold step of starting their own business. The judges will assess the growth of the company since it was launched by the candidate, as well as results in the last 18 months. They will examine the candidate’s leadership and strategy, standout achievements and customer testimonials, as well as the actual performance of the company (turnover, profit, employees etc.).
Ex-Forces Initiative of the Year
This category recognises a specific programme, network or initiative designed to support veterans, service leavers or the wider ex-forces community in the workplace. It could also be a company or organisation whose whole mission or business objective is linked to supporting this community. The judges will assess the overall impact of the initiative.
Innovator of the Year
A service leaver who has demonstrated outstanding innovation or vision that has contributed to an organisation’s or other people’s success or helped to disrupt a business or industry. This could be innovation on an operational or project level within an organisation or something that has impacted other people or organisations in the form of a new product or idea. Judges will examine how innovative and visionary the leader has been by looking at individual achievements and how they’ve changed the way something is consumed or done.
Inspiration of the Year
A service leader who has overcome adversity – during their military service, during their transition to civilian life or since he or she started a new career – to ultimately achieve success in the business world, or inspired other service leavers through their commitment, dedication and support. Could also be a veteran in business who has inspired others through exceptional behaviour, conduct or perseverance.
Lifetime Achievement
This category looks at the achievements of service leavers throughout their whole career, both in the military and their accomplishments after leaving the military. The judges will look at each candidate’s contributions to defending British freedom during their time in the forces, as well as what they have contributed to British life, society and the economy through their achievements since leaving the forces.
Military Virtues in Business Award
This award recognises a former serviceman or woman, or a military partner, who has created successful business results and advanced their career by exhibiting and applying military virtues and values to their role and activities. The judges will want to see specific examples of how military virtues and values, honed during the applicant’s time in the armed forces or as a military partner, were deployed in business scenarios to strong effect, generating results that were tangible for the organisation or praised and recognised by others for the positive effect they had.
New Service Leaver of the Year
This category recognises ex-forces personnel who left the military less than two years ago and, through an effective transition, are already achieving great things in business. The judges will examine standout achievements since the candidates left the forces, including demonstrations of leadership or innovation, contributions to successful projects, and examples or testimonials that highlight the business potential and promise they have shown.
Outstanding Achiever of the Year
This category recognises an outstanding business achievement (or achievements) in the last 18 months from somebody who used to serve in the forces. This could be somebody who has demonstrated outstanding commercial results, transformed an organisation or culture, significantly improved the way an organisation is run, achieved something outstanding for the ex-forces community, or inspired others to achieve.
Reservist of the Year
This category recognises the importance of British reservists by recognising those who have demonstrated excellent achievements in their career while also dedicating themselves to the commitments required of the Reserve Forces. Judges will assess each candidate’s business achievements in the last 18 months – including demonstrations of leadership or innovation, contributions to successful projects, and examples or testimonials that highlight their capabilities – as well as how they have acted as a strong ambassador for the British Armed Forces and committed themselves as a reservist. 
Rising Star of the Year
A former serviceman or woman who began a post-military career in the last six years and has progressed quickly through an organisation or industry, demonstrating strong business results and leadership. The judges will examine each candidate’s accomplishments and progression since leaving the forces, with a particular emphasis on achievements in the last 18 months.
Role Model of the Year
A former serviceman or woman who has not only transitioned successfully to the business world but has been a strong and effective role model to other service leavers in the last 18 months. The judges will examine each candidate’s commitment to supporting other service leavers through specific examples of how they’ve acted as a role model, as well as demonstrations of their own leadership and business success.
Service Leaver of the Year
This category looks at ex-forces personnel at all stages of their career to pinpoint an overall service leaver of the year. The judges will examine achievements in the last 18 months of each candidate’s career, looking at demonstrations of business excellence and leadership, examples of being a role model to others, as well as efforts to support or represent the ex-forces community as a whole, either as an ambassador or by actively trying to bridge the gap between the armed forces and the business world.
Team Leader of the Year
A team leader within an organisation who has demonstrated outstanding team leadership in the last 18 months. To assess this category, the judges will look at the progress and growth of the organisation, or the relevant team within it, and how the candidate has contributed to that success, both through their team leadership and through their own individual achievements.
Young Leader of the Year
A leader of an organisation, or a leader of a department, team or division within a large organisation, under the age of 40, who has progressed rapidly into a senior management role and demonstrated outstanding business leadership in the last 18 months. To assess this category, the judges will look at each candidate’s professional growth as well as the growth of their organisation, or the relevant part within it, and how the candidate has contributed to that success, both through their leadership and through their own individual achievements.