Awards 2006: Margaret Ewing – Blue Chip FD of the year

aa awards 2006

Sponsored by 4X Currency Corporation

This year’s Financial Director of the Year of a Blue Chip Company is Margaret
Ewing, who was nominated by Accountancy Age readers and analyst and investor
subscribers to business website Cantos.

Ewing joined BAA as group finance director in July 2002. She is a former
group FD at Trinity Mirror, and before that was a senior partner at Deloitte.

To say that Ewing headed up the finance function at BAA through challenging
times is a woeful understatement. During her time at BAA ­ she stepped down in
September after the takeover ­ she has been involved in bringing to fruition a
major period of investment for the former state-owned airports authority,
including the management of the construction of Heathrow Airport’s new Terminal

T5 is due to open in March 2008, and to date BAA has distinguished itself by
marshalling this massive investment and infrastructure project on time and on

The £4.3bn building project will provide the airport with a retail space the
size of Bluewater in Kent, and go some way to making BAA the largest investor in
British infrastructure outside of government.

During her time at the helm of the group’s finances, Ewing also oversaw the
acquisition by BAA of Budapest’s airport for £1.26bn and was at the helm during
the bids for BAA by Spanish construction group Ferrovial.

Ferrovial’s initial offer came in at 810p per share. This was rejected, as
not reflecting the true value of the company, and BAA was eventually acquired at
955p per share in a £10.3bn deal.

BAA’s performance for the year 2005/06 included an increase in revenue of
7.4% to £2.23bn. Operating profit increased by 8.1% to £710m over the same
period and capital expenditure increased 8.1% to £1.5bn.

For BAA to have secured robust growth during a period of such upheaval
demonstrates the firm hand of its executive team. Keeping acquisitions and a
huge infrastructure project on track is no mean feat. Ewing has certainly left
her mark on BAA.

The judges paid tribute to her achievements under pressure. ‘She is quite
phenomenal. She was finance director through a really difficult time but did an
outstanding job despite the stresses. In a list of impressive candidates it was
her achievements that outshone the rest.’


More than £3m a day is to be spent on infrastructure around Heathrow Airport
up until 2012. Around 68 million people go through Heathrow annually – that’s
around 200,000 each day. Of the airport’s 70,000 employees, 4,500 work for BAA.
Once Terminal 5 opens, BAA and partner British Airways will recruit and train
30,000 people.

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