Business school honours steel entrepreneur as a ‘real innovator’

Media release > 3rd November, 2017
Sanjeev Gupta award

Global metals and industrials entrepreneur, Sanjeev Gupta, who has conducted an audacious drive to reverse the fortunes of the UK steel sector over the past two years, has been honoured as a ‘real innovator’ by the London Business School.

In the 2017 LBS ‘Real Innovation Awards’ announced last night (2nd November) the founder and executive chairman of the Liberty House Group and GFG Alliance was named as recipient of the ‘George Bernard Shaw Unreasonable Person’ accolade for his steadfast refusal to accept the conventional view that Britain’s metals industry was in terminal decline.

His citation acknowledged that he not only rescued and revived several major metals and engineering plants across the country, saving thousands of jobs, but has developed the ground-breaking ‘GREENSTEEL’ business model to make the industry competitive and sustainable both through largescale domestic scrap recycling, powered by renewable energy, and through strategic integration of metals with downstream manufacturing.

In the process he has turned what was largely an international commodities trading business with a few hundred staff into one of Britain’s largest private industrial employers with nearly 5,500 workers.

He has since exported this vision to Australia where the GFG Alliance recently acquired the country’s largest mining and steel business, taking the size of the group’s global workforce to more than 11,000.

The GFG leader’s London Business School accolade was one of 12 awards presented to individuals and companies deemed to have broken the mould in various ways in order to achieve business success.

At the awards ceremony, Professor Julian Birkinshaw, the school’s academic director of the Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, said: “Innovation needs stubborn, even slightly unreasonable people who are prepared to challenge the existing order. It also needs good timing. Some great ideas come along before the market is ready for them, while others arrive too late. Sanjeev has chosen his time well and the results have been truly impressive.”

Accepting the award Mr Gupta said: “If it’s unreasonable to resist the collapse of a whole industry and the loss of thousands of jobs that can be saved by using a different business model, then I am very happy to accept the title of ‘unreasonable person’ and look forward to continuing in the same mode. Heavy industry in Britain has been suffering from slow decline for decades but we are showing that it can have a healthy, competitive and sustainable future.”

The awards were presented during a high-profile dinner at London Business School’s main campus in Sussex Place, London.

Further details of the ‘Real Innovation’ awards can be found on


Liberty House/GFG Alliance

Eoghan Mortell

+44 7977 555 116

London Business School

Chris Moseley

+ 44 (0) 207 000 8660


+ 44 (0)7511577803

Kate Harrison

+ 44 (0) 207 000 7048

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