An evening celebrating all the very best of London business

LAST night was an occasion to remember: City A.M.’s fourth annual awards celebrating the best and brightest of London’s business and financial communities. Over 480 guests from around 100 different firms attended the celebration, held at the Grange Hotel in St Paul’s.

There was great food, music and company, as well as a rousing speech from Michael Gove, the Secretary of State for Education.

I wish to extend my thanks to Lexus, our headline sponsor, and also to Heathrow Express, who sponsored the reception. Our winners, profiled in these pages, were chosen in unique fashion. A shortlist for each category was initially selected by City A.M. after feedback and responses from professionals working across the City. We then held a meeting of our expert panel of judges, which include many of the most influential people in Britain’s business community. The winners were announced last night to a packed room, chaired superbly as ever by the BBC’s Katie Derham.

Like last year, we examined a broad range of sectors spanning the financial and business world in all of its forms, including banking, law, accounting, consulting and fund management, as well as top corporates, innovators and entrepreneurs, with the aim of singling out the highest achieving teams and individuals as well as the most promising new kids on the block. We also hosted a new category: the Mayor’s Fund for London CSR award, judged separately.

Selecting the best in every area was far from easy – and there was one joint award – but our winners are all remarkable in their own ways. They are at the forefront of developing new and better business models that will help Britain return to prosperity – Carolyn McCall of EasyJet, our personality of the year, is a case in point. Her airline has transformed its fortunes, forced its major competitor to change and has entered the business travel market with gusto. Britain needs to learn to love real, hardearned, unsubsidised success again.

We need a thriving capitalist sector to keep the recovery on track – and that means successful firms and people who build, innovate, grow and create jobs. Last night was a wonderful evening – and proof that successful businesses are leading the economy back to prosperity.