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June

Forgemasters' chief executive awarded CBE

16 June 2008

Sheffield Forgemasters International chief executive Dr Graham Honeyman has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen's Birthday Honour's list for his work in preserving and developing heavy steelmaking and engineering industry in Sheffield.

Dr Honeyman was influential in the complete turnaround of the 200-year-old engineering company which was hours from complete closure three years ago. 

He has also been a key player with central government, industry bosses and trade unions on the crucial role that steel and manufacturing has to play in the future of the British economy.

He said: "I am absolutely delighted to receive this honour. It gives me particular pleasure that this award recognises the vital role which Sheffield Forgemasters has to play in the national and local economy and reflects not just on my efforts but the contribution of all who form the excellent, skillful, and committed team in the company."

Dr Honeyman returned Sheffield Forgemasters to profit in just six months when he took over the troubled company in 2002. Within less than three years turnover increased from £35m to £100m, rising from £83,000 to £150,000 per employee. The subject of a successful but complex management buy-out led by Dr Honeyman, today the company is an internationally competitive business with investment in people at its core.

Graham gained a BSc and MSc in materials technology from the University of Aston in Birmingham and completed a PhD at Teesside Polytechnic. He then spent ten years working for NEI Parsons in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, rising to principal engineer. After nine months spent studying super-critical steam turbines in the US, Europe and Japan, in 1987 he was awarded a Winston Churchill medal. A Royal Academy of Engineering silver medal for outstanding contributions to British engineering followed in 1998.

His career at Sheffield Forgemasters began as technical director in 1988, rising to managing director for the whole group. After a three-year gap, he returned in 2002 to drive forward his own technical and people strategies which set the company on the road to success. It has operated as a management buy-out (MBO) team since September 2005, with Graham as chief executive of the world's largest independently owned forgemaster.

The MBO deal and won full backing from central government, workforce and trade unions. The company, 600 jobs and links with 1,200 suppliers were maintained thanks to Graham's personal intervention and determination.