aql CEO named International Director of the Year, Digital entrepreneur Beaumont recognised for forging overseas links
Tech CEO Professor Adam Beaumont has won the prestigious International Director of the Year at the annual Yorkshire and North East event hosted by the Institute of Directors (IoD) last week and will be put forward to compete for the national title at the London awards in September.
Professor Beaumont, CEO of aql, the UK’s smart telecommunications operator, which controls a national data network, several UK datacentres and interconnects into the UK’s mobile networks, was recognised for his extensive overseas work that has seen him forge international links with businesses across all corners of the globe.
Beaumont founded aql in 1998 with a vision to provide a communications platform to allow software systems to communicate automatically with end users. The company now supports some of the largest global names, including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Fujitsu, Cogent, Akamai, Three, Telefonica and Vodafone. aql is also founding Northern Powerhouse Partner.
The data and telecoms entrepreneur has been privileged to work with the CEOs of some of the world’s largest and fastest growing technology companies. Earlier this year, through work with his not-for-profit organisation Northinvest, he led a delegation of thirty tech industry leaders to San Francisco. The delegation met with leaders from scale-ups and incubators such as Twilio, Linkedin and Rocketspace, as part of the first Northern Powerhouse overseas mission in partnership with the Department for International Trade (DIT).
His longstanding overseas work has ranged from establishing UK:Estonia Techlink, to investing in Estonian startups. He has also fostered relations in other territories, such as Australia, the Baltics and the Isle of Man.
Lauri Bambus, Estonian Ambassador to the UK, adds: “We’re keen to maintain strong relations with the UK and Adam is dedicated to ensuring that this relationship is supported. He’s established trade with Estonia and has also invested in Estonian startups. We look forward to working with him with his ongoing work in e-government technology.”
His work has also allowed Leeds to become a leading digital city. In 2008, he built the first neutral datacentre hub in Leeds, which allowed global operators to provide capacity to the region. He is also a co-founder of IXLeeds, which was the first (and remains the only independent) internet exchange outside of London, providing Northern resilience to the UK’s internet traffic. None of this work would have been possible without years of travel and relationship building.
Commenting on his award, Professor Beaumont, said: “Building partnerships overseas is crucial in strengthening our economy. It’s a privilege to be in a position where I can travel not only to build relationships for aql, but also to cultivate partnerships and enhance trade deals for other businesses across the UK.
“Winning International Director of the Year reinforces my drive to strengthen overseas links and open up opportunities for UK business.”
Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council, said: “Adam’s extensive travel and overseas partnerships have allowed him to link up many regional businesses with opportunities outside the UK.
“But it’s also important to highlight the work that Adam does to promote Leeds, the City Region and the North. He’s an ambassador of Child Friendly Leeds and has strong links into the city’s academic community and is passionate about inspiring the next generation of tech entrepreneurs.”
Marian Sudbury, Global Operations Director at DIT for the Northern Powerhouse, said: “Exporting drives business growth across the Northern Powerhouse and Adam’s work has been vital to connecting northern businesses with export opportunities around the world. The San Francisco mission was a great success, building important international partnerships.”
Roger Marsh OBE, Chair of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership added “Adam is a champion for the City Region’s digital capability and growth. He’s also a founding patron of our newly launched ExportExchange initiative.”
Beaumont was also shortlisted for the Director of the Year Award (SME company).
aql is headquartered in the historic, Grade II listed, Salem Chapel within the heart of the South Bank of Leeds. Adam and his team are dedicated to building the tech and wider community, including driving diversity and equality. The chapel is used to support and convene and to build relationships within the community, hosting events such as the successful Northern Power Women Conference, the launch of ExportExchange, the Northern Powerhouse Partnership and events for the Northern Powerhouse ministers.