Fiona Dawson wind Grocer Cup 2013

Dawson (centre) with Adam Leyland and Gabby Logan

Mars Chocolate UK president Fiona Dawson has become the first woman to be awarded The Grocer Cup for Outstanding Business Achievement.

Dawson picked up the accolade at the IGD Food Industry Awards 2013. It was presented by The Grocer’s editor Adam Leyland and awards host and BBC Sports presenter Gabby Logan.

She was voted for by readers of The Grocer, seeing off competition from a 10-strong shortlist including Sainsbury’s boss Justin King, Booker CEO Charles Wilson and Compass CEO Richard Cousins.

“It took me by complete surprise when Adam read out my name,” said Dawson. “It is a real honour, and means a great deal to be recognised by the industry. This award is a real tribute to the hard work of the whole team at Mars in Slough.”

Her win follows a successful year for Mars Chocolate UK (The Grocer, 28 September), which reported a 9% increase in pre-tax profits and a 3.8% increase in sales for the year to 31 December 2012, the opening of a new £6m R&D facility in Slough, as well as Dawson’s “collaborative, persuasive and brave leadership role on difficult industry issues,” said Leyland.