Awards 2019
London Hilton on Park Lane
Friday 22 November 2019


Representing all corners of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, here is our distinguished judging panel for the Builders' Merchants Awards 2019.

Carl Arntzen Chairman CPA

Having studied Mechanical Engineering at University, Carl originally joined Worcester Bosch in 1984 as a Product Development Engineer. He then moved in to more commercial orientated roles, first in Product Management and then Marketing Management. Carl was appointed Managing Director in October 2011 and CEO in 2015 for the whole Bosch Thermotechnology operations in the UK and Ireland. Carl is Chairman of the CPA and a Board Member of the EUA

Robin Beal Managing Director The IPG

Robin has gained over 30 years’ experience in the industry, having held the position of Trading Director for invoice-clearing house Unimer (United Merchants PLC) and working at Henderson Hardware and Hunter Plastics. Consequently, he acquired an insight into the independent merchant market that would lead him to eventually form The IPG. Robin founded The IPG in 2013 with the aim to support small independent plumbing, heating and bathroom specialists with growth and development, offering improved buying power alongside marketing and business services. In just over 5 years, he has developed The IPG into the biggest and fastest-growing membership group in the plumbing and heating sector, employing 15 staff, working with 100+ suppliers and has over 200-member outlets with a combined turnover in excess of £400m. Robin’s never-ending passion is for independent businesses and helping them to grow and develop.

Brian Berry Chief Executive Federation of Master Builders

Brian Berry is Chief Executive of the Federation of Master Builders. Prior to his current position Brian was Director of External Affairs at the FMB with responsibility for UK and EU policy, public affairs and media relations. Before the FMB, he worked at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), where he was Head of UK Public Policy. Brian regularly provides commentary on construction issues for TV, Radio, national and trade press.

Allan Durning Managing Director h&b Development Group

Allan Durning is the Managing Director of the h&b Development Group and the past President of The Institute of Builders Merchants. He has 30 years of experience of the building materials sector and has held senior positions in both supplier and merchant businesses.

Kishor Harsiani Finance and Strategy Director IBC Buying Group

Kishor, a qualified chartered accountant, has held senior executive leadership roles in global multinational organisations and has lived and worked in a variety of different countries and cultures. He has successfully led teams and delivered business results across multiple disciplines including Business Development & Commercial, Finance & Systems, Business Improvement, IT, Safety, Divestments and Programme Management Offices. Currently a finance and strategy director at IBC Buying Group.

Chris Hayward Managing Director NMBS

Chris Hayward has been Managing Director of NMBS for over 17 years, in which time it has grown to be the largest buying society for Independent Building, Plumbing, Hardware & Timber Merchants in the UK, with an annual turnover of over £1.7bn, with over 1100 members and 3400 branches. In addition, he was elected President of EURO-MAT, the leading European cooperation of independent builders’ merchants in 2015.

Pippa Latham Master Worshipful Company of Builders' Merchants

Pippa’s early career was in investment banking and management consultancy. She then joined her family business, the timber distributors James Latham plc where she worked for 25 years in finance, as company secretary and lately for 10 years as a Non-Executive Director.

Pippa has subsequently worked in industry for a wide range of companies across publishing, mining, shale gas exploration, the leisure industry, fund management and corporate search. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of the privately owned engineering and property company Lucy Group Ltd.

Pippa has an MA in Economics from Cambridge and an MBA from INSEAD; her professional qualifications are ACIS and FCMA. Pippa has worked in the charity sector for the last 8 years as Head of Corporate Development at Garsington Opera and for 3 years at the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, both part-time roles where she is responsible for the growth in their corporate support. Pippa is the current Master of the Worshipful Company of Builders’ Merchants

Neil Lawrence Chief Operating Officer Jewson Limited

Neil Lawrence is Chief Operating Officer of Jewson Limited and has ultimate responsibility for the 576 branch network across the UK; in addition he also holds the position of Managing Director of the Local Merchant Group (LMG).  LMG is a division of Saint-Gobain Building Distribution UK & Ireland and comprises the brands, Gibbs & Dandy, Chadwicks, JP Corry, Normans, DHS, Benchmark Building Supplies, Matthew Charlton & Roger W Jones.

Neil’s career in the builder’s merchant spans over 40 years, where he started as a yard hand at UBM in London moving through various roles in the branches before UBM was acquired by Jewson; he continued to progress in Jewson firstly as branch manager in Truro, Redruth, Plymouth and St Austell, working his way up to Area Director in the Midlands, Regional Director & eventually joining the Jewson Main Board as Operations Director before becoming Sales & Operations Director.  In 2011 he was appointed Managing Director of the SGBD UK & Ireland Company Gibbs & Dandy, which in 2013 was renamed The Local Merchant Group to incorporate the independent brands under one simple banner; in addition to his MD role Neil re-joined Jewson as Chief Operating Officer in December 2018. 

John Newcomb Chief Executive BMF

John Newcomb has led the executive team at the Builders Merchants Federation since 2012. During his tenure John has overseen the introduction of a raft of business support initiatives, sector-specific discussion and networking forums, and education, training and career development opportunities, each designed to broaden the BMF’s relevance and appeal. He has taken an energetic and proactive stance to ensure the voice of merchants and their suppliers is heard by policy makers.

Yvonne Orgill Chief Exectuive BMA

Yvonne Orgill has over 30 years experience in the UK bathroom Industry and is well recognised as a leader and influencer. She has held the position of Chief Executive of the Bathroom Manufacturers Association (BMA) since 2006, having joined the Association as an information assistant in 1986.

Mike Rigby CEO MRA Marketing

Mike Rigby has played a major role in launching the Awards judging process 18 years ago and has made MRA Marketing a strategic PR, creative marketing & insights agency, specialising for 25+ years in construction, building materials and home improvements. No.1 in the Construction Marketing Award agency league for helping its customers grow, MRA devises winning strategies and builds brands, so customers grow much faster than their competitors.

David Szymanski Chairman NBG

David Szymanski trained as a mechanical engineer, having spent the whole of his working life in the building materials industry, initially with London Brick and then with Hanson. He is a ‘brickmaker’ at heart, but moved on to be involved in many other building products, finishing full-time work as Managing Director of Hanson Building Products. For the past 6 years, he has been non-Exec Chairman of the buying group NBG, which keeps him closely involved with his roots.

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