Pearson triumphs with Coutts & Co Large-Cap Business of the Year accolade


Emerging triumphant against finalists including The Co-operative Group, Whitbread, Hiscox, Unilever UK & Ireland, and BSkyB, global education and media company Pearson was named Coutts & Co Large-Cap Business of the Year at the National Business Awards Gala Dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London on 9th November 2010.

Pearson was one of ten finalists selected by the National Business Awards as an outstanding publically-listed company that has demonstrated exceptional financial returns, strong growth and innovation strategies, and market prominence in its sector over the last year.

“As one of three nomination categories where high performing champions of key industries are invited to become finalists, candidates are judged on past achievement, current performance and future potential,” explained Alex Evans, Editorial Director & Head of Judging of the National Business Awards.

“Challenging advertising conditions and the issues raised by digital publishing in the era of the iPad have been the biggest stories in two of Pearson’s core areas of business – yet it has maintained organic growth and achieved a sales increase of 9% overall.”

The London-based company’s success over the last 18 months has been built around a strategy focusing on four key areas – content, technology, international markets and efficiency. Early investment in digital services around its flagship FT platform has paid off, but ‘education in the broadest sense of the word’ is where Pearson has seen its greatest success – an investment of $1.6bn in new content in its education business over the last five years has paid dividends.

Commenting on what sets Pearson apart in its own sector, and why its achievements should be recognised by the wider business community, CFO Robin Freestone said: “We have a great company with a unique brand and a unique approach to business. We have fantastic staff that are the envy of our competitors and we have done a lot to retain them and inspire them. We have delivered to a diversified mix of stakeholders across different markets. We are a truly innovative company that has adapted early and grown in a recession.”

International expansion into emerging markets has supported growth, while greater efficiency has been achieved through a centralised operations structure, with technology supporting a greater integration of assets, brands, processes and facilities.

Accepting the Award at a glittering ceremony attended by 1,200 of the UK’s most influential business people, Freestone said: ““It’s a surprise and an honour to win this award over some extremely impressive finalists in our category. This Award recognises the hard work of our extremely talented staff, and a strategy of internationalisation that has helped us to grow despite the recession. It’s been a tough time for all media players, but our diversification into digital and education has not only made Pearson resilient but given it scope for future growth.”

Judges for this year’s Coutts & Co Large-Cap Business of the Year included Gerald Bailey, Senior Client Partner at Coutts & Co; Simon Lowe, Practice Leader (Business Risk Services) at Grant Thornton; and David Postings, CEO of Moneycorp.

Commenting on the judges’ decision to give top honours to Pearson, Evans added: “Pearson has successfully internationalised its business, diversifying and adapting to stay ahead of the curve. A creative culture has thrived because of a clear strategy set out by its senior management, and a focus on integration has made it more efficient while creating savings that are being re-invested in new areas of growth.”

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