From the Hot Seat: 2017 Judges share insights on BBA

Sept. 19, 2017

With excitement rising ahead of the 2017 British Business Awards (BBA), so too is the pressure on our esteemed panel of judges. And, as this year marks the 10th anniversary of the red-carpet gala, the judges’ role is particularly special. 

Every year since the BCCJ’s inception of the ceremony, nominations have shown the wealth of success and innovation in UK-Japan related business, making it a tough challenge for our experts to declare the winners. This year is set to be no different.

Held in the Grand Hyatt Tokyo on 2nd November, this year’s BBA will not only be the highlight in the UK–Japan calendar but also a unique celebration of the role that the BBA has played in championing and strengthening bilateral relations.

To mark the occasion, the BCCJ asked this year’s judges about taking on the task, the role of the BBA and how nominees can make an impact. We asked each judge:

  1. Why did you agree to be a judge?
  2. How will you assess nominees' excellence and innovation?
  3. What industry experience will you draw from?
  4. Why is the British Business Awards important?
  5. How do you feel about being part of the British Business Awards on its 10th anniversary?


Philippe Fauchet OBE, Chairman and Representative Director of GlaxoSmithKline K.K.

  1. As representative of last year’s winner of the Company of the Year award, it is a role expected from me, which I do with pleasure.
  2. Excellence and innovation should be assessed in the context of the last 12–18 months of activities, which means there should be some tangible results/facts to support the nominations. They should also appear as components of the corporate/company culture. And they should be part of a strategy or vision which will be pursued in the coming years.
  3. I have accumulated general management experience in the life sciences sector over more than 20 years, and spent more than 20 years in Asia, mostly in Japan.
  4. It is a valuable yearly checkpoint for stakeholders involved in exchange between Japan and the UK that allows us to recognize the passion, energy and successes of those contributing to relations between the two countries, and encourages them to do more in that direction.
  5. As an Executive Committee member of the BCCJ, I am extremely motivated by the event. Over the years, standards have been pushed higher and higher to match the expectations of the larger and larger audience, and I feel that the 10th anniversary will be a Grand Cru!


Lady Barbara Judge CBE, Chairman of The Institute of Directors 

  1. I do anything I can do to promote the UK and Japan so I was honoured to accept the role; I love to see interaction and reciprocal investment between the two countries.
  2. I will look for entrants with an entrepreneurial spirit and creativity.
  3. I have served on the board of LIXIL Group Corporation and as an advisor to Itochu and TEPCO [Tokyo Electric Power Company].
  4. It’s an important event in promoting British business in Japan.
  5. I’m very proud to be representing the UK and Japan as a UK business ambassador at the BBA. The two countries have formed strong, supportive relationships, which I would like to see expand so that each country feels that the other is the preferred trading partner.


Astrid Klein, Architect, Klein Dytham Architecture

  1. The British Business Awards acknowledge hard work but also show others in the community that they should think about applying for an award. It creates a nice healthy competition that makes people try to do better every single year; I want to encourage that.
  2. I will judge the entrants on simple things: How does it help the community at large? How does it make lives better? How will it affect me? What's the point of difference? I will think about the pros and cons of the value that is being offered.
  3. My work is all about being nimble and open to change. I design buildings that address today's needs and are appropriate for the market, while considering the needs of the audience as well as the operator. Clients come to us because we are truthful, consistent and offer something a little different.
  4. Winning a British Business Award can give companies and individuals such a boost, which brings leverage for them to go on to achieve even greater things.
  5. I'm flattered to be involved, though this being the 10th anniversary, I'm feeling the pressure!


Bill Sweeney, CEO of the British Olympic Association

  1. The BOA would like to be seen as actively involved with the BCCJ and associated British business interests in Japan as we develop our plans and preparations in the build up to Tokyo 2020.
  2. By the content of their submissions and how “different” and impactful they are.
  3. Senior managerial experience in leading global sports brands in Asia, Europe, and the United States.
  4. It's important to be actively engaged in initiatives that recognise and reward innovative thinking. 
  5. Very happy.


Esther Williams, Head of Trade at the British Embassy Tokyo

  1. Supporting the BCCJ and British business in Japan is an important part of our work. And it sounded like fun to see more of what sort of excellent work British companies are doing!
  2. By looking at the outcomes they have achieved, and how they achieved them.
  3. 10 years working with some of the most innovative UK companies both in Japan and also South Asia.
  4. Because it’s really important to reward success and celebrate the success of partnerships between the UK and Japan, and the Awards can encourage other companies that they can succeed.
  5. I’m really happy to be part of the British Business Awards this year. It’s an important event, and one that continues to grow every year.


Get involved!

Don't miss YOUR chance to get involved with the 2017 British Business Awards!

Book your tickets HERE

Nominate your favourite companies for a BBA trophy (Deadline: Oct 18, noon) HERE