16 May 2013

OU Business School alumnus scoops prestigious business award

Gyles Brandreth (awards host) and Chris Lima

Gyles Brandreth (awards host) and Chris Lima

The Open University Business School is extending its congratulations to one of its Alumni, Chris Lima, Managing Director of Simon Hegele Logistics, who has won the Institute of Directors regional Chairman’s Award for Leadership in Corporate Responsibility.

The award recognises the efforts made by Simon Hegele Logistics to engage with its local community. All the employees are able to take an extra day holiday each year to work with a charity, school or community organisation of their choice. The company has engaged with local schools and colleges, supporting students with learning difficulties by running workshops and supporting A level students in applying theory into practice as well as organising events to raise funds for charities.

Chris Lima, Managing Director of Simon Hegele Logistics said, “We are a small company with only 64 employees. So our ethos, in regards to engagement with social activities, is like dropping a pebble into water, we try and generate the maximum effect with the few resources we have. We recognise the need to balance financial profit with social profit and contribute to our local community where we can. Winning the award from such a prestige organisation was a very humbling experience for me, but great recognition and a proud moment for our HR manager and all the other staff that have contributed to the company’s CSR efforts.”

Chris joined Simon Hegele Logistics in 2007 following the successful completion of his MBA. Chris recalls that when he arrived at Simon Helege he was greeted with an unhappy customer banging on the table, a failed quality audit, a high turnover of staff and a loss making business.

The business today looks very different and Chris attributes a lot of this to the OU Business School, as he explains, “The OU Business School and its alumni has been a major influence on the turnaround of the business primarily through the application of principles learnt during my MBA. But also through the development of skills learnt by attending regular alumni events, bringing my team along to OU workshops as part of their development and further developing my own education with an accounting for strategy course.”

Having left school at 16 with a few CSEs Chris decided to join the army. Twelve years later after serving in the Falkland Islands, Northern Ireland, the first gulf war and Bosnia, he left the military but stayed in Germany and got a job with a German company.

“It was whilst I was working with this German company I recognised that my civilian career would benefit from some formal qualifications. After carrying out substantial research into different providers of management training, both German and English, I started studying with the OU in 2001. The OU was a clear choice both from the quality of their presentation, the materials and the accreditations and reputation that came with OU qualifications.”

As a regional winner Chris will go forward to represent London and South East in the UK Director of the Year Finals, taking place in October 2013.

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