BBA 2021 Judges Revealed!

Written by BCCJ
September 17, 2021


Written by BCCJ
September 17, 2021

With the deadline for 2021 British Business Awards (BBA) nominations approaching (Oct 18 2021, 1700 JST), we are delighted to reveal the names of our BBA 2021 judges – a truly great lineup of accomplished leaders who are actively engaged in bolstering UK-Japan relations!

Role of the BBA 2021 judges

This esteemed panel of judges will put into practice their expertise and specialist experience to decide which companies and individuals should receive a prestigious BBA trophy at this year’s online event (Nov 5). With nominations of a very high standard currently flowing into the BCCJ office, the decision-making will surely be a challenge.

The 2020 BBA nomination period will close on 18 October at 1700 JST, so there is still an opportunity for you to nominate those who have made a positive impact in the world of UK–Japan relations over the past year.

The six 2021 British Business Awards categories are:

  • Company of the Year
  • UK-Japan Partnership
  • Entrepreneur of the Year
  • Responsible Business
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Digital tech & Innovation

Noel Thatcher MBE | British Paralympian

Noel has represented Team GB at six consecutive Paralympic Games and won five gold medals, as well as breaking the 5,000 metres world record at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics. He was made an MBE in the 1997 New Year’s Honours for ‘Services to Athletics for Disabled People’ and was inducted into the England Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Noel first visited Japan when he was invited to the marathon tournament held in Miyazaki in 1992. This event ignited his curiosity for Japanese culture and led him to study Japanese at SOAS. Ever since, for nearly thirty years he has been tremendously active and energetic in connecting the UK and Japan through numerous events related to sport and Japanese culture.

Carolyn Davidson | British Consul-General, Osaka

Carolyn joined the FCO in 1986 and has most recently worked as Ambassador to Guatemala and Honduras (a job-share with her husband Tom Carter). She and Tom also shared the role of British High Commissioner to Zambia (a world first) from 2008 to 2012. She has also worked in Tokyo, Brussels, Bonn, Bangkok and Bratislava.

Carolyn previously served at the British Embassy Tokyo between 1988 and 1992, working as the Economic Attaché, and then as Private Secretary to the Ambassador. In August 2021, she took up her newest role as Consul-General in Osaka.

MPower Partners

Miwa Seki, General Partner

Miwa Seki has 20 years of experience in the financial industry, working in investment banking and equity capital markets. She is a prolific translator, having translated over 50 business publications and is also an associate professor of Kyorin University.

Kathy Matsui, General Partner

Kathy Matsui is former Vice-Chair of Goldman Sachs Japan and Chief Japan Equity Strategist. She was ranked No. 1 in Japan Strategy by Institutional Investor multiple times, and her ground-breaking “Womenomics” research spurred former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to promote gender diversity as part of the nation’s growth strategy.

Yumiko Murakami, General Partner

Yumiko Murakami is former head of the OECD Tokyo Center, where she led discussions on economic policy issues with government and business leaders in Japan and Asia. Yumiko’s focus areas include corporate governance, ageing society, gender diversity, international trade and innovation.

Hideo Tomita | Managing Director, Refinitiv Japan K.K.

Hideo was appointed as Representative Director of Thomson Reuters Japan in 2012 and has kept the position. The entity’s name was changed to Refinitiv Japan in March 2019. Refinitiv became a part of London Stock Exchange Group business in February 2021. Prior to that, he held senior positions in leading financial information/software companies. He is a member of Japan Association of Corporate Executives and Japan Society of Monetary Economics.

Hideo was appointed as Director of Japan Investment Advisers Association in June 2019. He also serves as a board member at The Organization of Global Financial City Tokyo. He has a Bachelor of Law from Keio University, Tokyo.


Liza Aono | Presenter, Cool Japan TV

Liza is a TV presenter and panellist for Japan’s long-running and popular NHK “Cool Japan” television show, on which she represents the UK. Her early career took her to the European Union and London as a Researcher for a prominent MEP and this work led her to be featured in publications such as The Guardian, Financial Times & others. A football lover, she also worked for Arsenal FC hosting VIPs.

After winning a prestigious scholarship she studied in China. In keeping with a long term tradition as a former Miss Jamaica UK finalist, she has always promised to work towards world peace – with actual action. This interest led her to Rotary, and she became the President of the Rotaract Club of Shanghai, China.

Liza studied Consumer Science in Liverpool then Marketing at a Business school in Oxford. She now lives in Japan with her husband (who is a Tokyo lad) and their mixed heritage twins who are young models for famous Japanese and International brands.

Adrian Gillespie | Chief Executive, Scottish Enterprise

Adrian took up post as chief executive in September 2021.

Prior to this, Adrian was The University of Strathclyde’s first Chief Commercial Officer and member of the University’s Executive Team. He oversaw the growth of extensive industry facing activities, centres and relationships as well as the development of innovative, place-based economic development projects including the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland and the Glasgow City Innovation District.

Before joining Strathclyde, Adrian spent sixteen years at Scottish Enterprise where he was a member of the Executive Leadership Team and Managing Director of Operations. While there, he led the organisation’s business support through account management of high growth companies, entrepreneurship development and high growth start-up support, R&D and innovation support, as well as the Business Infrastructure division. He also held various roles in areas such as the Creative Industries, Digital Media, Enabling Technologies and Energy and Low Carbon Technologies.