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Meet the Judges for The LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders

The LDC Top 50 Most Ambitious Business Leaders, supported by The Telegraph, will showcase the very best of entrepreneurial endeavour. Those individuals who are pushing boundaries and striving for success.

The programme will culminate when we name the UK’s Most Ambitious Business Leader in October – the one person who best defines the leadership qualities needed in today’s business world.

To help us, we are convening a panel of judges who know exactly what it takes to be a strong leader.

Paul Dreschler CBE, Vice-President, CBI 

Paul Drechsler CBE, Vice-President, CBI

Paul is currently Vice-President of the CBI, the UK’s largest business organisation, having served a three-year term as President from 2015-2018.

He is also Chairman of Bibby Line Group, a global £1billion turnover family business with interests in retail, financial services, distribution, shipping, marine and construction equipment hire.

His other roles include Chairman of the Board of the charity Teach First, Chairman of lobby group London First, a Board Member of the International Chamber of Commerce ICC(UK), Chancellor of Teesside University, a member of the Global Advisory Board Of Trinity College Dublin, the Advisory Council Of Step up to Serve and of the Prime Minister's Advisory Committee for The Queen's Awards for Enterprise.

After a 25-year international career with global chemicals giant ICI PLC, ultimately as a Main Board Director, Paul joined the family-owned construction group Wates in September 2004, where he was Chairman and Chief Executive between 2006 and 2014.

He graduated from the University of Dublin, Trinity College, with an (Honours) degree in Engineering Science, and is married with three children.

He is a passionate advocate of privately owned companies and their importance to the UK economy, as well as the role of business leadership in ending education inequality, inspiring social action and creating opportunity for all.


Rebecca Burn-Callander, Enterprise Journalist

Rebecca Burn-Callander, Enterprise Journalist

Rebecca is a freelance journalist specialising in writing about small businesses and entrepreneurs. Former enterprise editor of The Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph, she was previously associate editor at Real Business Magazine and web editor at Management Today.

Her work has been also published across national newspapers and business publications, such as The Guardian, The Times, The Week and Real Deals, and she regularly provides commentary for TV and radio, appearing on BBC Radio 4, Share Radio, Sky News, Channel 4.

As LDC’s editor-in-residence, Rebecca will interview everyone in the Top 50 list to truly understand what makes them stand out.


Stuart Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, ByBox

Stuart Miller, Co-Founder and CEO, ByBox

Stuart has led ByBox from a Silicon Valley start-up in January 2000 to a turnover of $105m today. Having started his career at Accenture, he now focuses on strategic planning and prioritising the commercial and technology developments for ByBox, as well as maintaining high level relationships with key customers.

Stuart fully believes in the power of invention and entrepreneurial spark, something upon which ByBox is founded. To ensure such traits run through ByBox’s DNA, he shuns the top-down leadership style, opting for the reverse so that rebellious attitudes and disruptive ideas can be allowed to grow and benefit the business.

Related:  Interview with Stuart Miller, View ByBox in our portfolio


Debbie Bestwick MBE, CEO, Team17

Debbie Bestwick MBE, CEO, Team17

Debbie Bestwick MBE is CEO of award-winning veteran games developer and international games label, Team17. Debbie joined the games industry at the age of 17 starting out in indie retailing where she won Indie Retailer of the Year at just 18, before she co-founded Team17 in 1990 at the age of 20.

Team17 is a leading international games label, the developer behind The Escapists, Genesis: Alpha One, Overcooked, Yoku’s Island Express, Yooka-Laylee, the Worms franchise and many more from developers around the world. Debbie has released more than 90 games with Team17 across home computers, console and mobile platforms.

Since becoming CEO and completing a MBO in 2010, she has focused on establishing Team17 as a sustainable business which achieves year-on-year profitability and growth. Debbie’s passion is Team17's games label which helps support new start-ups and existing development studios create new IP and build for sustainability whilst retaining independence.

Debbie has recently received an MBE for services to the video games industry and was awarded Outstanding Contribution to the UK Games Industry in the 2017 Golden Joystick Awards. Previously Bestwick was honoured with the Businesswoman of the Year in the 2016 Women in Games Awards, Hall of Fame award at the European Women in Games Conference 2015 and MCV person of the Year in 2015.

Related:  View Team17 in our portfolio


Carl Castledine, CEO, Away Resorts

Carl Castledine, CEO, Away Resorts

Carl Castledine is CEO of Away Resorts, a unique operator of six holiday parks that are located throughout England and Wales. All provide a range of high quality accommodation choices from luxury holiday lodges and cottages with private hot tubs to camping facilities.

The business was founded in 2008 by Carl, along with Neill Ryder (Finance Director) and Greg Lashley (Operations Director). Based in Hemel Hempstead, the business has successfully grown sales to more than £50million, positioning the business with a solid foundation for growth.

Carl is a third generation holiday park operator, who has worked for Bourne Leisure and Park Resorts the UK’s largest holiday park businesses, in various management and Director roles prior to starting Away Resorts.

Related:  View Away Resorts in our portfolio


Frances Rus, CEO, Duncan and Todd Group

Frances Rus, CEO, Duncan and Todd Group

Frances is the Chief Executive of the Duncan and Todd Group the largest independent Optical group in Scotland. Founded in 1972, the business operates through three divisions – retail, manufacturing and corporate eyecare; across a national network of branches, state of the art laboratory in Aberdeen, and catering for more than 200 public and private sector clients.

A qualified Dispensing Optician, Frances was appointed Managing Director in 2007 and has overseen the growth and development of the business, investing heavily in the manufacturing capabilities of the laboratory and expanding the national footprint of retail stores across Scotland.

Under Frances leadership she has built a strong and ambitious team focused on providing exceptional products and services to a growing patient base all without losing sight of the companies roots as the local Opticians.

Related:  View Duncan and Todd Group in our portfolio


Andy Grove, Head of New Business, LDC 

Andy Grove, Head of New Business, LDC

Andy graduated with an Accounting and Financial Management degree from Sheffield University. He qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte and joined Deloitte's corporate finance advisory business upon qualification.

Before joining LDC in September 2008, Andy spent some 15 years as a Corporate Finance advisor with both Deloitte and PwC specialising in private equity backed transactions. With more than 23 years of private equity experience, Andy has advised on numerous transactions over the years across a wide range of sectors. Andy has led some of LDC’s most successful investments and exits, including woodland holiday provider Forest Holidays, lifestyle brand Joules and global beauty products group Original Additions.

He sits on the board of Addo Food Group and Centiq.

Related:  View Andy Grove Profile

LDC Top 50