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Chief Executive of HKS Retail Shane Thakrar won the Young Executive Award

The best business people in Leicestershire were announced on 2nd November at the 2017 Leicester Mercury Business Executive of the Year Awards.

This year’s young executive was Shane Thakrar, chief executive of HKS Retail, Belgrave Gate.

In the past few years he has led a major and successful expansion of the family-owned petrol station business.

Professor Paul Boyle, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Leicester, said the institution was delighted to have been headline sponsor of each of the past six awards.

He said: “I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate each and every category finalist and winner – making it to the final stages of such a rigorous and competitive process is a fantastic achievement.

“I know you are inspirational role models within the business community and for our own enterprising students and graduates starting out.”

Leicester Mercury editor George Oliver said the winners reflected the tremendous success stories out there in the city and county.

He said: “These awards have uncovered some shining examples of leaders who have achieved success for their companies through innovation, commitment and sheer hard work.

“If our economy is to prosper further we need more of these individuals to step forward.”

Eileen Richards, who runs Eileen Richards Recruitment in the city, was one of the judges – picked from the great and good of the county’s business community – who had the tough job of picking the winners.

She said: “Judging the Leicester Mercury Business Executive Awards for a third year has been an immense pleasure.

“The entrepreneurial talent within Leicestershire is phenomenal and each of the finalists are undeniably commendable for their success.

“Selecting a winner in each category was a challenge, since the calibre of the final three being enormously high.

“Although there can only be one victor, these exemplary awards demonstrate and applaud each of Leicestershire's adept business men and women, for their accomplishments within our thriving city.”

Courtesy: Leicester Mercury

Fashion retailer honoured in £500m investment pledge

The University of Leicester has announced that its new cutting-edge medical teaching and research building is to be named in honour of the fashion retailer George Davies and opened by Sir David Attenborough OM and Michael Attenborough CBE.

The George Davies Centre will be officially opened on Saturday 11 November. It represents the largest investment in medical teaching and applied research by a UK university in the last decade.

George Davies is the founder of the high street brands Next (based in Leicestershire), George at Asda and Per Una for Marks & Spencer.

He will join the Attenboroughs, other philanthropic donors, senior management of the University, representatives from local healthcare organisations and staff and students of the College of Life Sciences in celebrating this landmark building.

Sir David and Michael Attenborough are co-patrons of the University of Leicester’s Centenary, which the University will commemorate from 2018 to 2021.

Attendance at the opening is by invitation only.

On Tuesday 26 September, George Davies made a gift of £5.15 million, the University’s largest-ever philanthropic gift from an individual, towards transformative research into peripheral vascular disease and to establish the Vascular Limb Salvage Clinic at Glenfield Hospital. His generous support will help to save limbs and lives in Leicester and beyond.

George Davies said: “My great passion is supporting patients with health challenges, both in the UK and internationally. We are privileged to have a great team of surgeons, physicians, health workers and NHS administrators in Leicester. What is important to me is to continually work closely and be part of this team in order to achieve our goals of saving lives and limbs. There is no greater feeling than being able to give something back.”

Acting as a hub to bring together, for the first time, the University’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students, the George Davies Centre will completely transform medical teaching and improve the lives of many patients in the region and beyond. Housing the University’s Medical School, School of Psychology and Department of Health Sciences, it will provide an environment for cultivating applied research that will be at the forefront of improved patient safety and the fight against chronic disease.

The Centre was made possible through the generosity of many donors, a number of whom are recognised throughout the building through the naming of lecture theatres and rooms. These include the Samworth Foundation, Naresh and Bina Popat, the Leicestershire & Rutland Masonic Charity Association, the Thakrar Family / HKS Motors, the Edith Murphy Foundation, Bhikhu and Saroj Hindocha, Bridget Towle, Next PLC, the Garfield Weston Foundation, and the Masonic Charitable Foundation.

Other donors are recognised through their gifts to the Wladyslaw Sluckin Memorial Fund Appeal, the Sir Robert and Lady Burgess Teaching Fund and contributions made by University of Leicester alumni and medics.

The building’s completion coincides with the introduction of Leicester Medical School’s innovative new curriculum, which puts patients at the heart of healthcare education.

The Centre will provide a space for public engagement, including a mental health campaign display linked to a public engagement campaign. There will also be a display celebrating women in science and medicine as part of the University’s role as a HeForShe IMPACT Champion.

The £42 million building, which incorporated investment from the University of Leicester and an ambitious fundraising appeal, is a state-of-the-art, multi award-winning building that is the largest non-residential building in the UK to meet the Passivhaus Certification for sustainability and energy performance.

Professor Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester, said: “The George Davies Centre is a landmark in both building design and in the development of medical education and research here at the University of Leicester. As we invite George Davies, Sir David Attenborough and Michael Attenborough to officially open the building, I am delighted to be able to celebrate those who have played a part in accomplishing both of these goals.

“This ground-breaking building has been made possible by the generous support of our donors, who I would like to thank personally. In making a commitment to this project they have also played a vital role in nurturing future generations of clinicians and researchers working at the cutting-edge.”

Professor Philip Baker, Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of the College of Life Sciences, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the official opening of the new George Davies Centre. Designed to bring together the University’s leading academics, researchers, clinicians and students it provides teaching rooms, offices, lecture theatres, dry lab research facilities and support spaces.

“The new facility delivers a new ‘rapid response’ curriculum for training tomorrow’s doctors along with being the home of our Psychology and Health Sciences students. The Centre will become a central hub speeding the translation of research to real world improvements for patient treatment so it is especially fitting to name the building after George Davies, whose generous donation has enabled a new limb salvage clinic to be opened and the University to invest in new research.”

The University will once again welcome Sir David Attenborough and his nephew, Michael Attenborough CBE, back to campus. Sir David grew up on the campus, where his father, Frederick Attenborough, was Principal of what was then called University College Leicester. Michael Attenborough is a celebrated theatre director and artistic director who, in addition to his role as co-patron of the University’s Centenary, is patron of its Attenborough Arts Centre. The centre is named after his late father, Lord Attenborough.

Bill Friar, Director of Development and Alumni Relations at the University of Leicester, said: “The University of Leicester was established nearly 100 years ago through gifts, large and small, made by the local community to honour loved ones who served and in many cases died in World War I. The University is a living memorial to their sacrifice, and has as its mission a commitment to improving the lives of future generations.

“So it is entirely fitting that we are officially opening on Remembrance Day a centre dedicated to saving lives and improving wellbeing. Through their generosity, our donors are once again helping the University live up to its founding motto: Ut Vitam Habeant – So That They May Have Life. ”

Courtesy: East Midlands Business Link

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Leicester’s HKS makes Sunday Times Top Track 250 debut

HKS Retail, part of the HKS Holdings Limited group, are one of a select cohort of companies nationally and one of only eight in the East Midlands, to make it into the prestigious Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 – the league table which ranks Britain’s private mid-market growth companies with the biggest sales.

HKS Retail is a new entrant into the tables, and made its debut at number 103 with sales of £225m and profits of £7m.

The league table and awards programme is sponsored by Grant Thornton and Lloyds Banking Group, and compiled by Fast Track, the Oxford-based research and networking events company.

The Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250 complements the Top Track 100, published in July, which features Britain’s biggest private companies. It ranks the next 250-biggest companies by sales. The 250 companies grew combined sales by 16% to £62.4bn, operating profits by 34% to a record £5.4bn, and staff by 10% to 384,200.

Shane Thakrar, CEO at HKS Retail, said: “The last year has been a fantastic one for the company and we’re honoured to be in such illustrious company as the other entrants in the Sunday Times Grant Thornton Top Track 250.

“To be placed so high in our debut year in the tables is testament to the hard work of all our staff, for which we’re very grateful.

“We don’t intend to rest on our laurels, however, and have big plans for the business which should cement our place in the Top Track 250 and propel us even higher. Watch this space!”

Chris Frostwick, Partner at Grant Thornton UK LLP, the title sponsor of the league table, praised the companies for their performance:

“The UK may be at a pivotal point in its history, but the Top Track 250 clearly demonstrates what can be achieved by exciting dynamic businesses. These companies think locally and act globally, they innovate to grow and embrace an entrepreneurial spirit that this country needs to secure a positive post-Brexit future. At Grant Thornton we are seeking to stimulate ideas and actions that can help shape a vibrant UK economy that thrives. We can all learn a lot from the Top Track 250.”

Courtesy: East Midlands Business Link

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HKS triumphs at Asian Business Awards Midlands

HKS Retail Limited (HKS) is celebrating after winning big at the 5th annual Asian Business Awards Midlands, which honours the continued success and achievements of local Asian businesses.

HKS Retail triumphed in the Fast Growth Business Award, which was sponsored by Mazars.

Shane Thakrar, CEO at HKS Retail said;
"To be recognised as one of the fastest-growing companies in the Midlands is fantastic news for the company, and also justifies all the hard work our entire team are putting into the business. "We are honoured to be among some big name winners at the Asian Business Awards this year. We have experienced strong growth over the past few years, which has come from both acquisitions and development of our existing network. The recognition helps fuel our future growth plans, we have a number of exciting plans for the coming months which we are excited to announce very soon.”

The Awards were held on Friday 7th April at the world-famous Edgbaston Stadium.

Kalpesh Solanki, Group Managing Editor of AMG, said;
“All of the winners showcase the dynamic business leadership and talent in the Midlands. The British Asian community is thriving and these awards have celebrated the innovative and forward thinking Asian businessmen and women in areas such as entrepreneurship, healthcare and manufacturing. It has been a great evening celebrating the success of our winners.”

Graham Sims joins HKS Holdings Ltd as Non-Executive Chairman

Formerly Head of Retail at BP, Graham’s expertise lies in transformation changes within businesses. Graham’s extensive experience extends across a range of corporate and private equity backed businesses in a number of industries including oil, retail and hospitality.

His cohesive approach, brings a new method previously demonstrated across sectors; blending brands together to create a new offerings for businesses, retailers and customers alike. During his time at BP, Graham integrated a number of household brand partners into BP forecourts across the UK and globally. He currently holds a number of Chair positions and works in private equity businesses in the UK, Europe and the US.

Family-owned HKS, is set to move into a new stage of accelerated investment, development and growth which Graham will lead, broadening the business into other consumer sectors.

The group will continue the development of its existing portfolio, enhancing its convenience retailing offer and pursuing partnering options with other brands in food and convenience into new concepts as well as actively seeking new property to add to its network of forecourt sites.

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