Nathen Newark wept tears of joy as he brandished the trophy for store manager of the year and declared "this is the best professional night of my life".
Newark who started his Asda career as a part-time produce assistant in 1993 fought off the closest-ever competition to win the coveted prize.
The six judges were in deadlock after the store managers' presentations, and it required two further rounds of voting before the prize was awarded to the Wembley store manager.
Newark dedicated the award to his team. "This is as much for them as it is for me," said Newark. "It is overwhelming, I wasn't expecting it. And when you get recognised for doing something you love, it makes it all the more special."
Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer, paid tribute to Newark's winning presentation.
"Nathen manages an enormous and complicated store with a diverse, multi-ethnic staff and customer base only 6% are white Anglo Saxon and an incredible level of footfall, so it is a huge challenge. But through sheer force of personality, humour, humility and persuasiveness both on the shop floor and at Leeds HQ, his countless and genuinely innovative initiatives won the day."
Store managers' judgement day
This year's crop of contenders all delivered a confident 10-minute presentation in front of our judging panel. They were then subjected to a further 10-minute question and answer session from a judging panel comprising: Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer; Steven Esom, operating partner at Langholm Capital; Jerry Marwood, managing director, Spar UK; Guy McCracken, chairman, Branston; Colin Smith, OBE, chairman of Poundland Group Holdings; and Lorraine Hendle, executive director, grocery, William Reed Business Media.
Tesco, West Lothian